The Pride Center’s LUally program is changing its interactive training events to include more students and their experiences.
Intersections and foundations will be the focus of this year’s program, which has aimed to initiate dialogue on campus since 2016.
Foundation sessions review specific identities, such as asexual, or bisexual, pansexual, fluid and queer identities. They focus on specific elements of the LGBTQ+ community, talk about experiences and discuss how an individual can become an ally for the community.
Scott Burden, the associate director of The Pride Center, said intersection sessions delve into different overlaps between LGBTQ+ and other identities of those who have experienced forms of repression.
LUally hosted its first intersection session of the semester, “LUally Intersections: Intro to Intersectionality,” on Sept. 24 in the University Center.
The event started with a mask activity, in which participants were invited to share how they see themselves on one side of a mask and how the world perceives them from the other. They were then asked to notice differences and recognize internal responses.
During the session, Burden defined intersectionality as a way to consider the overlapping forms of systemic oppression that an individual might face, including white supremacy, immigration policy and the justice system.
“In our efforts to be advocates and to be allies for communities that find themselves on the margins, it’s important to be equipped with the knowledge,” Burden said.
Chelsea Gilbert, the director of The Pride Center, was a member of the team that created and implemented LUally, and she writes most of the curriculum as a facilitator of the program.
Intersectionality relates to Gilbert’s experience through both privilege and oppression.
“I’m a white cisgender woman, who is also queer, and so I occupy an interesting intersection,” Gilbert said. “My whiteness affords me a lot of privilege, my gender conformity and the fact that I’m cisgender affords me a lot of privilege, and yet I’m also constantly navigating what it’s like to be a queer woman, particularly a younger queer woman in a professional role.”
James Hamill, a former participant and now a facilitator of LUally, shares a similar viewpoint on intersectionality.
“When I go to a classroom, no matter what people know about me… I’ve noticed that it’s a lot easier for me to garner some kind of attention, focus and respect from my students, than potentially some of my colleagues of color, some of my female colleagues, because of the way they read me as a white guy,” Hamill said. “And so, although I might come out later as a queer person, I’m still vested with a lot of power and privilege as a result of these other identities.”
An upcoming event in this semester’s intersection series is “Exploring Disabilities,” which will review the experiences and needs of disabled LGBTQ+ people. Other sessions will focus on queer, transgender and intersex people of color as well as religion and spirituality, which will take place next semester.
About three-quarters of LUally trainings are requested and, therefore, customized to the department, organization, fraternity, sorority or residence hall that asked for it.
“Our thought process behind LUally is that we never stop learning,” Hamill said. “Whether we’re members within a particular community or allies to said community, there’s always space to grow — both in our knowledge, but also in our empathetic compassion to other people.”