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LGBTQ+ Communities and Allies at TAMUT Header

A photo of Dr. Jamie Cantrell

 A note from Dr. Jaime Cantrell: “I'm an English professor & the Director of the Program in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at TAMUT. I also serve as faculty advisor for Spectrum. The courses I teach—like ‘Transnational and Multicultural Feminisms’ or ‘Women in Literature’ or ‘The South & Sexuality’—well, I teach them because I never had the chance to take them as an undergrad. I don't want any of my students to know that feeling. At twenty-two, it became clear to me that living a queer life without publicly and politically acknowledging my lesbianism was simply not enough to make any significant contributions to the immense work that lay ahead on the road to full equity and inclusion. Still lies ahead, in fact. I challenge you to live an authentic life of empathy and action—however you determine that might look for you, whether or not you are ‘out’, or even if you haven’t figured it all out yet. Believe in the power of intentionality and lean into the lessons from our queer forebearers in our drive toward changing the climate of our state, our state of mind, our region, and our collective well-being. Get involved. Liking a FB status isn’t activism. If you’re an ally, ask how you can demonstrate support. (Allyship is not an identity, but a framework around conscious, continual actions.) Even if it’s a shaking one, use your voice to report bias and discrimination when you witness it. Use your laugh to celebrate and experience the joy of being surrounded by ‘family’—your chosen family, however they manifest and uplift you. Foster the You of you and surround yourself with individuals who value the You of you—not for who you will be, but the You of you in the queer and now. Growth is important—we all have room to learn—but self-acceptance in the process is key, too. And remember: we, at TAMUT, openly and proudly support you because we believe in respecting the dignity of each member of our community. Our ongoing commitments to integrity, civility, and fairness will not be empty ones. We are fierce. And so are you.”

A photo of Karuchi and Dr. Jennifer Davis.

Welcome Dr. Jennifer Davis, Director of International Studies at TAMUT & proud LGBTQ+ Ally! Dr. Davis writes, “I support the LGBTQ+ community because my best friend deserves to be treated with respect. This picture is with my best friend and fabulous drag queen, Karuchi Cassadine.” Visibility is important, but so is action. Know that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Change Makers at TAMUT, like Dr. Davis, are committed to creating a more inclusive campus climate for our LGBTQ+ Eagle Family!

A photo of Dr. Del Doughty with a college graduate and family.

This photo is worth a thousand words! From the Dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Education, Dr. Del Doughty: “Here I am at my son Luke's college graduation in 2018. Our whole family was beaming love and pride on his big day.” #EaglesHavePride

A photo of Kara.

We’re excited to share a statement from a TAMUT student: “My name is Kara Jefferies, I’m from Texarkana, Texas, and I am a freshman at TAMUT. I am a member of the LGBTQ+ community and I came out several years ago as a lesbian! Being a member of the community myself has allowed me to meet others like me and gain a new perspective of those unlike me. It’s important to have pride in what you do, but it is crucial to have pride in yourself! This community is near and dear to my heart and it’s important to inspire those around you to have pride and manifest confidence within themselves!”

A photo of Megan.

TAMUT #EaglesHavePride October LGBTQ History Month visibility campaign is so pleased to introduce one of our student leaders in TAMUT Spectrum, Megan Law! She writes, “Hi, my name is Megan and I am a sophomore at TAMUT. I am from Texarkana, Texas. I came out as a lesbian when I was 15 to my friends and I came out to my parents when I was 19. I’ve gotten to meet so many amazing people within the LGBTQ+ communities. They have helped me become comfortable with who I am and helped guide me to live as my authentic self. I have been apart of Spectrum since my freshman year. I am currently a leader in the organization. Spectrum has given me a way to educate this community on LGBTQ+ issues and rights. Growing up in Texarkana, I had a hard time figuring out my identity and there was no one there to help me. I want to help make Texarkana a safe place for LGBTQ+ communities so that the younger generation will grow up in a more accepting environment.”

A photo of Dr. Dana Leighton.

Shoutout to Dr. Dana Leighton, Assistant Professor of Psychology at TAMUT! He writes, “I’m an LGBTQ+ ally because I know that justice denied for one is justice denied for all, and I will be there for you when you need me. I am an LGBTQ+ accomplice because I will deploy my unearned privileges as a White, heterosexual, cisgender, man to stand abreast of LGBTQ+ folks on our march along the long road toward peace and justice.”

A photo of Courtney.

We’re excited to uplift this visibility campaign post from an undergraduate student, Courtney Munoz. She writes, “This is my girlfriend and I. We've been together for over a year. We both attend TAMUT at NTCC. We are so proud to be a part  of the lgbtq+ community & we love the support and recognition that TAMUT Spectrum is providing to the Texarkana community!”

A photo of Dr. Craig Nakashian.

Next up in our #EaglesHavePride visibility campaign is Dr. Craig Nakashian, chair of the TAMUT Program in History and Director of the Academic Honors Program. He writes, “I am an ally for the simple reason that all people should be allowed to live their lives how they want without fear, oppression, or attack. Others having the same rights and acceptance that folks like me have always enjoyed is long overdue.”

A photo of Grey.

Where would TAMUT Spectrum be without Grey Powell? They write, “Happy October! I’m Grey, a Master’s student at TAMUT, and I was president of Spectrum from 2017-2020. It is not just a club; it is a safe space. We have people from many walks of life and Spectrum is a place for all, whether they are out or not. As a non-binary person myself, I am so proud to have been able to grow with this organization. TAMUT is a wonderful place to find yourself and I encourage everyone, whether you be LGBTQIA+ or an ally, to get involved with Spectrum. Groups like this one are making a difference and changing the campus climate, which is something we need more than ever.”

A photo of Michael Stephenson.

Next up, a statement from Michael Stephenson, the Assistant Director of Student Life at TAMUT. He writes, “As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I know first-hand the importance of visibility. Visibility grants equal opportunities for marginalized groups to feel loved and appreciated. I am proud to work for an institution that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. As long as I have been a part of this Eagle family, I have been supported and loved. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. The way you love should never be a reason to live in fear and that is why LGBTQ+ visibility is so important. Remember love prevails. Love thy neighbor without exceptions. Be kind. Be an ally. Be proud. Be someone’s reason to feel important today.”

A photo of Jennifer Willis. A photo of Allison.

We couldn’t be more honored to uplift this next #EaglesHavePride visibility campaign featurette, from Jennifer Willis, TAMUT’s Institutional Effectiveness Officer (first photo): “I am an ally for my sister Alison (second photo) who proudly identifies as LGBTQ+. I stand with Alison because she is my family. I am lucky to call her wife, Sarah, my sister. I am an aunt to their daughter, Lucy, who is my only niece. Alison is intelligent, independent, talented, and generous. She has stood up for me when I was being bullied, took me to my first scary movie and let me sit in her lap, and battled cancer. She is a warrior and I am beyond proud to call her my sister. I truly love my sister Alison.”

A photo of Mindy.

EaglesHavePride visibility post from our ally, Mindy Zwirn: “In addition to teaching history at TAMUT as an adjunct, I also serve as a local Methodist pastor in Nash.  I stand firm in my belief that every Christian should be an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community, and I base that belief on my study of scripture.  To me it seems obvious that the God who created this wildly diverse world in this magnificent universe would have certainly created a wide myriad of different expressions of love.  The God I serve knows the identity of every person, and wants us all to live in truth and not in shame.  Whenever I hear that someone has had to hide their identity or their love out of fear of “Christian” judgment, my heart breaks.  If I could share one message with the LGBTQIA+ community, it would be this:  You are amazing, beautiful, and worthy of love exactly as you are.  I believed all of this before my youngest child came out as nonbinary and asexual, and before I found out that I had a transgender sister.  I believe it more than ever now.  If anyone at TAMUT ever wants to discuss their faith experiences and concerns, I am available and willing.  Otherwise, just know that you are deeply, deeply loved.”


LGBTQ+ History Month Header

October 1st-October 31st

Social Media #EAGLESHAVEPRIDE Launch

Write Dr. Jaime Cantrell, Spectrum Faculty Advisor, with your short bio and photo (no later than Sept. 30th) to be featured in this social media visibility campaign. Submissions are welcome from faculty, alum, staff, and students! Follow @tamutspectrum on Instagram and TAMUT Spectrum on Facebook for more details.

October 1st-October 31st

product drive for Basic Necessities

Basic Necessities is the only dedicated diaper and period products bank in the ArkLaTex. SNAP, WIC, & Medicaid do not cover diapers, period products, or incontinence supplies; support this non-profit by donating period and diaper products on campus (drop off in UC420). Most menstruation products are marketed as “feminine hygiene” products for cis-gender women. Support trans & non-binary folx by donating supplies and using more gender-inclusive language to discuss these products.

October 6th | 6pm | Zoom

Creating Welcoming Spaces in Difficult Places: Prioritizing the Needs of LGBTQ+ Students on College Campuses in the South

Candid Conversations lecture by Dr. Sidney Gardner, Director of the Women & LGBT Center at Southern Methodist University. Co-Sponsored PLACE/Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

October 12th | 7pm | Zoom

Comedy show with Samuel Morrison

Campus Activities is hosting in commemoration of National Coming Out Day on October 11th. After darting from is upbringing in Central Florida, he quickly found home performing among NYC’s comedy clubs and gay venues where his brand of high energy humor and touching narrative took off. He has performed in RuPaul’s DragCon (‘19), TBS’ New York Comedy Festival (‘18), was named one of Mogul Magazine’s Comic’s to watch, and was a finalist on Stand Up, NBC! (‘19).

October 20th | 12noon & 6pm | Zoom

Rainbow Tree Virtual Paint Party with LGBT History Trivia

Supply kits available for in-person pickup in UC420 or shipped. Hosted by Campus Activities Board.

October 20th | 3pm | UC326

“Moment of Truth” CROWN Sponsored LGBTQ+ History Month Panel Discussion and Q&A

Join leadership representatives from CROWN and Spectrum as we host an open panel discussion and Q&A about intersecting identities.

October 22nd | 6pm | Zoom

Black Lesbian Feminist Praxis: A Southern Experience

2nd Annual LGBTQ+ History Month lecture by Dr. Stephanie Andrea Allen, Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Gender Studies at IU-Bloomington. Sponsored by PLACE, the Program in WGSS, Spectrum, and the Program in History.

October 26th | 12noon-1pm | Zoom

LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana’s “The History of Pride in Louisiana”

Presentation and virtual discussion, sponsored by the LGBT+ Archives Project and SAGE New Orleans - NOAGE (Advocacy & Services for LGBT+ Elders). Featuring Mark Gonzales, Michael Hickerson, Valda Lewis, Frank Perez, and Dr. Catherine Roland. Originally recorded for Pride Month on June 29, 2020.

November 13th | 1pm-2:30pm | Zoom

The President's Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will host a "Candid Conversation for Students" event co-sponsored by PLACE, on November 13th from 1pm-2:30pm on Zoom. Dr. Jennifer Stollman, former Academic Director at the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at Ole Miss will give a talk titled "Undoing Silent Violence: Divesting Racial Power Conveyed Through Statues, Symbols, and Building Names and Memory Projects".



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