June is Pride Month, a special time to celebrate the LGBTQIA community and honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. This month, the College of Sciences is sharing stories and experiences about what Pride Month means to students and campus leaders who are active in LGBTQIA organizations at Georgia Tech.
"Although we must be apart this summer, we are thrilled to join in celebrating Pride Month together online, this year,” says Susan Lozier, College of Sciences dean and Betsy Middleton and John Clark Sutherland Chair. “Through listening and lifting up these perspectives, resources, and ideas, we connect in allyship and celebration with our vibrant LGBTQIA+ community across campus, the city of Atlanta, and beyond."
More 2020 Pride Perspectives:
Victoria Pham (she/her/hers) is from Ackworth, Georgia, and is vice president of Georgia Tech Pride Alliance. She is currently a fifth-year undergraduate student studying psychology, and a member of the Georgia Tech PARK Lab. She shares that her parents emigrated from Vietnam, and that she is pursuing minors in math and Spanish with hopes of using these skills to improve diversity in the workplace.
Q: What can people within the College of Sciences, and Georgia Tech as a whole, do to support LGBTQIA students?
I think the biggest thing that instructors can do is introducing themselves with their pronouns and including them in their emails. I think this really shows that instructors are accepting of all gender identities, and it also helps to break the norm that we can assume someone's gender.
Q: Why is it important to celebrate Pride Month? What does the month mean to you?
I think it is important to celebrate Pride Month because it gives visibility to LGBTQIA people. It is also a way of celebrating the history that has enabled us to exist how we do today. This month, for me, represents a celebration of identity and the idea that we should not be ashamed of who we are. It also provides a lot of hope for me because it shows how much progress has been made since the Stonewall riots, and it makes me excited to see how we will continue to progress in the future.
Q: What has your experience within Georgia Tech Pride Alliance been like? What encouraged you to become vice president?
My experience with Pride Alliance has been educational and really enjoyable! I was able to make a lot of friends through Pride Alliance, and this has improved my overall experience of being a student at Georgia Tech. I was able to better focus on my own work when I knew had a supportive community behind me. Moreover, the previous exec board showed me the power of being involved in the community. This was a big motivator for me to run for vice president. Since I had gained so much from being a member of Pride Alliance, I wanted to carry that legacy on for students who were new to Georgia Tech, and also for students who had not found their community, yet.
Q: How would you describe the environment within the College of Sciences as it relates to support for LGBTQIA students?
In my experience, the College of Sciences instructors have been inclusive to LGBTQIA students. Especially within the psychology department, I feel like I have had many professors that have showed support for LGBTQIA students, either by mentioning Atlanta Pride, or acknowledging that the material we learn is from a heteronormative perspective.
Q: Which Georgia Tech faculty members have inspired and supported you?
Dr. Keaton Fletcher and Dr. Ruth Kanfer have inspired me a lot and have also supported me as a student. Dr. Fletcher's class on personality psychology was really engaging, and the environment of the class helped to facilitate a lot of discussion. I felt like this class pushed me to think critically, and to constantly question the information presented to me. Dr. Kanfer has created an inclusive environment in her lab, which has helped me, to hone in on my goals as a future psychologist. She has been a role model to me, by demonstrating how having clear goals and staying focused on those [goals] can lead to a fruitful career. Overall, I feel that the influence of these two faculty members have helped me to realize my own goals — while also increasing my own interest in psychology.
Meet Tegra Myanna, Georgia Tech LGBTQIA Resource Center's new director.
Interested in learning more about Pride Month and how to be an ally? Visit the LGBTQ+ Experiment Website (external link, recommended by a current Georgia Tech student).