The mission of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Life is to engage the university community in the creation of an affirming and just campus environment while supporting the development of students of all gender and sexual identities. Within our mission, we focus on different areas to best engage our students.
The most visible area we focus on is space. On a basic level, this means creating physical spaces in which LGBT-identified students feel safe to be themselves. One such physical space is our office located in Dobbs University Center, Room 232E. In the office, students have access to our library— including books and DVDs— as well as sexual health supplies, informational pamphlets, and our staff. Through the Safe Space program, we also strive to increase the number of safe spaces on campus as we train faculty, staff, and students about LGBT issues. In addition to physical space, the Office of LGBT Life maintains a virtual space for students through our social media accounts— such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram— as well as this website. With this virtual space, we hope to provide a one-stop shop for all the ways students can connect with the Office of LGBT Life and with each other at Emory. Through both of these spaces, we hope to increase the awareness and visibility of LGBT-identified people on campus. Our Out @ Emory page— featuring over 100 out faculty, staff, and students— is one example of how we have increased LGBT visibility on campus.
The Office of LGBT Life also focuses on programming and events to engage our students. Our programs, such as the Queer Discussion Groups, are designed as regular events with measured outcomes and a focus on developing student abilities. Some ongoing programs, such as Safe Space, focus on developing the abilities of allies across campus. Local social events including both Atlanta Pride and the Pride Awards increase our sense of community within Emory as well as the greater Atlanta area.
As our programming suggests, the Office of LGBT Life has a large focus on helping students recognize their abilities and empowering them to succeed. To achieve that, we offer advising to individual students. Danielle Steele and Natalie Turrin are both great resources to help students realize their potential as well as address any concerns they may have. The Office of LGBT Life also provides advising to student organizations, such as Emory Pride, to engage their officers and provide support for their events. We also maintain a close relationship with Emory’s GALA to provide students opportunities to interact with alumni. This allows students to not only learn more about different careers, but also the reality and possibility of being LGBT professionals.
Within all of our efforts, we have an eye toward increasing access and equity. For us, this means addressing policies, procedures, and facilities to make sure they fit the needs of our students. In our recent history, this has included making the Emory student health policy more trans*-inclusive and increasing training for Student Health staff to better address the needs of LGBT-identified patients. While this is never easy work, we are lucky to be at an institution that is so receptive to and supportive of these changes.
Click here if you are interested in leadership, volunteer, and/or student staff positions with the Office of LGBT Life.To receive our weekly newsletter, please fill out the form below: