Tulane to host inaugural Stonewall Pride event for faculty and staff

Stonewall Pride month is celebrated throughout June in commemoration of the Stonewall Rebellion that took place on June 28, 1969, in Greenwich Village, New York City. The demonstrations and protests that occurred are credited with igniting the movement for LGBTQIA+ rights and liberation in the United States.

In observance of the month and to uplift the LGBTQIA+ community, Tulane University faculty and staff are invited to participate in an inaugural Tulane Stonewall Pride event on Friday, June 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the A. B. Freeman School of Business Auditorium.

The event will feature two sessions: an educational session, titled “Developing LGBTQ+ Competency as Supervisors, Mentors and Colleagues,” and a session, titled “Thriving as a Tulane LGBTQ+ Community Member.” RSVP and choose a session here.

The educational session will be facilitated by Rhi Reed, occupational therapist, and Jasper Privat, licensed psychologist, at TIDAL, a trans-led collective of healthcare providers, educators, students and community members in the Gulf South who are committed to trans liberation through equitable healthcare. The session will provide attendees with the opportunity to learn LGBTQIA+ history and legacies, essential vocabulary pertaining to the queer and trans community, the proper usage of preferred pronouns and how to combat LGBTQIA+ hate as an ally.

The “Thriving as a Tulane LGBTQ+ Community Member” will be facilitated by Tochukwu Awachie, research coordinator at Project AFFIRM, which is a study that aims to research the gender identity development and health of individuals who identify as trans or nonbinary in an effort to reduce stigma and discrimination. The event’s session will provide LGBTQIA+ peers with the space to gather as a community, provide mutual aid, and learn strategies to restore and empower individuals.

Opening the event, Wendi Moore-O’Neal, co-director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG), will lead attendees in freedom singing, a form of congregational singing notably used during the Civil Rights Movement to express resistance and freedom from oppression along with courage and bravery. SONG is an organization whose mission is to “build, sustain, and connect a southern regional base of LGBTQ people in order to transform the region through strategic projects and campaigns developed in response to the current conditions in our communities.”

A luncheon will take place after the sessions, and Anneliese Singh, associate provost for faculty development and diversity and chief diversity officer, and Jonathan Small, vice president of the Office of Human Resources and Institutional Equity, Aloysius Cunningham, co-chair of the LGBTQIA+ Faculty and Staff Affinity group at Tulane, and Ellen Palmentier of Tulane’s Office of Government of Community Relations, will address attendees to close the event.

Singh said the event is vital for being clear and intentional about supporting the LGBTQIA+ community as well as learning. Singh also noted that the timing of the event is “crucial” as several legislative actions impacting the queer and trans community have occurred recently.   

“At this time, it’s more important than ever to come together and let our queer and trans community know that we’re not only here for them, but that their lives are important; the lives of their loved ones, Tulane faculty, staff and students who have trans and nonbinary children, they’re important to us,” Singh said.

“We want to be very clear where we stand at Tulane. There is no question that we want Tulane to be the best place where queer and trans communities can thrive and also find support from cisgender and straight allies.”

Small said of the event, “As we gather here at Tulane University to commemorate Stonewall Pride, it is essential to recognize and honor the resilience, strength, and accomplishments of the LGBTQIA+ community. While we celebrate the progress made during Stonewall Pride Month, let us also remember that inclusivity is crucial for achieving true equity. At Tulane, we are firmly committed to fostering an environment that is inclusive and welcoming, where every individual, irrespective of their race, sex, ethnicity, religious affiliation, or gender identity, deserves our unwavering support.”

The event is co-sponsored by the Office of Human Resources and Institutional Equity, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the LGBTQ+ Faculty and Staff Affinity Group, the LGBTQ+ Research Collective, and the Office of Gender and Sexual Diversity.