Thursday, September 15, 2011

11 Important Leaders in LGBT Education

LGBTQIA individuals and organizations still have a ways to go before they can enjoy full equality in today's society, but that doesn't mean accomplishments and milestones pushing them towards broader acceptance should ever go ignored or unacknowledged. Because education remains an integral cog in the social justice machine, such professionals can significantly impact the perceptions of current and future generations alike. By no means a comprehensive list, or one whose entrants are meant to be ranked in any specific order, the following leaders have undoubtedly left their mark when promoting LGBTQIA perspectives and rights in academia and mainstream society. Of course, they didn't (nor will they ever) operate in a vacuum, so their contemporaries' equally passionate work deserve accolades as well. Anyone striving towards respectfully, nonviolently building a more equitable and loving community should inspire others to carry on their legacy and strive until unity and peace become the universal norm.

  1. Chuck Middleton and Katherine Ragsdale

    March 6, 2011 saw the first LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education meeting, co-chaired by Roosevelt University's Chuck Middleton and Episcopal Divinity School's Katherine Ragsdale. The organization, as one can probably assume from its name, discusses issues relating to LGBTQIA community members working in higher education. Presidents, mostly, but their emphasis on equality, destigmatizing and leadership certainly impacts far more individuals than just them. About 25 men and women align themselves with LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education, and many participate in more general events to ensure their minority voices get heard. And, of course, fair consideration. Considering how students, staff and faculty alike still approach LGBTQIA professors with caution, if not outright mistrust, the group's members certainly have plenty of work ahead of them.

  2. B. Cole

    She may not be affiliated with any one institute of higher learning — save for her alma maters Mills College and London School of Economics — but B. Cole undeniably furthers LGBTQIA leadership and scholarship more than most professors. The ardent, published researcher and winner of such breathtaking honors as the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, Spirit of Dolores Huerta Award and labels like the Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar and Coro Fellow, she applies both her passion and serious researching chops to the Brown Boi Project. Here, "masculine of center womyn, men, two-spirit people, transmen, and … allies" band together in the spirit of community service, activism and leadership. Through projects and retreats, they also reach out to such youth and instill them with the skills needed to excel both in school and in their neighborhoods, not to mention the world around them. In doing so, Brown Boi hopes to educate tomorrow's LGBTQIA leaders and get their communities talking about masculinity, race, class, sexuality, gender and other lines by which society draws up inequalities.

  3. Jennifer Finney Boylan

    Colby College English professor Jennifer Finney Boylan educates far more people than just the lucky students in her classes. The author and teacher also enjoys a board position with GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), an organization devoted to critiquing media depictions of the LGBTQIA community and its members. Such a laudable status allows her to play an integral role in promoting tolerance and equality throughout the world, not just on campus. In addition to her activism and education accomplishments, Boylan has also earned the Lambda Literary Prize and University of Massachusetts' Stonewall Legacy Prize.

  4. E. Patrick Johnson

    Sweet Tea, both a book and a one-man play, is the latest thought-provoking offering from this acclaimed Northwestern University Performance Studies chair and African-American Studies professor. E. Patrick Johnson frequently explores issues of race and sexuality, particularly their overlaps and the life experiences of minorities in both camps. His work is vital from both an artistic and social perspective, as LGBTQIA individuals of color especially struggle with broader acceptance, even in today's supposedly "progressive" world. Along with Mae G. Henderson, Johnson edited Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology in order to shed even more light on very important, yet frequently overlooked (if not outright marginalized) issues. Even within the LGBTQIA community itself.

  5. Anne Fausto-Sterling

    As one can probably glean from the ever-expanding acronym, the LGBTQIA movement encompasses more than lesbians, gays, bisexuals and the transgendered. Through publications such as Sexing the Body and Myths of Gender, Brown University's Anne Fausto-Sterling challenges popular perceptions of gender and sexuality, with her most prominent and controversial beliefs revolving around the existence of five sexes, not just the commonly-accepted binary model. As both a biology and gender studies expert, she certainly possesses the scientific and sociological chops to back up these claims. Seeing as how Fausto-Sterling writes and speaks extensively on the subject ( even earning a Nova feature!), she stands poised to really promote a broader acceptance of and tolerance for different genders and gender identities.

  6. Theodora J. Kalikow

    Before Chuck Middleton became the first male college president to come out in 2002, Theodora J. Kalikow with University of Maine at Farmington opened up as the first female way back in the dark ages of 1994. A sterling leader not only bolstering LGBTQIA academics' profiles, but higher education in general, Kalokow's qualifications, awards and honors just keep piling up. The American Association for Higher Education considers UMF one of the nation's 20 model universities devoted to student success. She has overseen the construction of two LEED-certified campus buildings. And she heads up the school's diversity committee, which pretty much accomplishes exactly what one would imagine. Among plenty of other impressive achievements, of course!

  7. Virginia Uribe

    Los Angeles-based LGBTQIA youth owe Virginia Uribe a debt of gratitude for her Project 10 program, for which she's earned a staggering litany of honors and awards. Founded in 1984, the initiative serves as a consultant and watchdog for California school districts. Its leaders and supporters rally to ensure the public school systems grow safer for LGBTQIA students, often plagued by bullies and resulting trauma, anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts and actions. They also pay close attention to the institutions' potential legal issues, especially those involving discrimination. Both on and off campuses, Project 10 hosts numerous events and programs meant to educate students on the virtues of diversity, equality, tolerance and understanding. Uribe's nonprofit stemmed directly from her own PhD research, which revealed that the 10 biggest American school districts offered very little psychological outreach to the LGBTQIA youth desperately needing solace and support.

  8. Peter Jackson

    Americans definitely don't hold a monopoly on LGBTQIA studies, as Utopia Award winner, Australian National University fellow and AsiaPacifiQueer founder Peter Jackson so deftly proves. He actually launched the laudable organization partly as a response to Amerocentrism in such research and academics, focusing on Asian gender and sexuality issues and perspectives. In July 2005, Jackson hosted the world's largest conference on Asian LGBTQIA research, which brought together "scholars, human rights activists, artists and filmmakers." Held in Bangkok, Sexualities, Genders and Rights in Asia: First International Conference of Asian Queer Studies undoubtedly proved that academia was more than overdue in turning its attentions towards the continent's sexuality and gender minority populations.

  9. Shane L. Windmeyer

    Campus Pride nurtures LGBTQIA organizations and student leaders alike in the interest of making college a safe experience for oft-marginalized sexual orientation and/or gender identity minorities. The brainchild of activist, author and speaker Shane L. Windmeyer, it currently exists as the only national group devoted to such networking and resource-providing causes. His books, such as The Advocate Guide for LGBT Students, and editing ventures (Brotherhood: Gay Life in College Fraternities, Inspiration for LGBT Students & Allies and more) all focus on providing solace and strength for LGBTQIA college kids. His own experiences grappling with small-town Kansas and campus homophobia inspired him to make sure later generations never suffer as he once did.

  10. David M. Huebner

    Because coming out typically involves a right fair amount of anxiety for both the LGBTQIA individual and his and/or her parents, University of Utah's David M. Huebner headed up a film project easing both demographics' minds. Lead With Love, a very short documentary at only 35 minutes, means to bridge sexuality-based gaps between family members. It features the stories of four different families, making it something very viable for students figuring out their sexuality to consider showing their parents. In addition, Huebner also sits on the board of directors at GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

  11. Margaret Himley and Andrew London

    At Syracuse University, the former is a Professor of Writing and Rhetoric, and the latter serves as both the Chair of and professor in the Sociology Department. Both Margaret Himley and Andre London co-direct the school's LGBT Studies Department, which currently only offers a minor in the subject. With an excellent, diverse and very knowledgeable faculty at their disposal, the pair headed up the Chancellor's Award-winning Transnationalizing LGBT Studies conference. Held on Syracuse's New York campus in September 2010 and its Madrid sister in July 2011, programming revolved around promoting international communication regarding contemporary and historical LGBTQIA news, views, and issues, particularly as they relate to education and technology.

Taken From Best Online Colleges

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