Photo contributed by Taylor Sprague.
Submitted by Taylor Sprague.
I am a Residence Director in Wolf Village Apartments for University Housing and also a graduate student in the Higher Education Administration Master’s Program. Interacting with out faculty and staff members during my undergraduate career at George Mason University helped to challenge the stigma and fear of being out. When I was able to see staff that shared my story doing amazing work and living meaningful lives, I realized that being queer did not detract from my abilities, but emboldened them.
The more LGBT staff I met, the more empowered I felt to be myself. As we consider the present and future of LGBT students, staff, and faculty in higher education, we must be willing to reflect and learn from the past. LGBT History Month reminds us that we are standing on the shoulders of giants as we continue to advocate for greater inclusion and justice for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students, faculty, and staff. It reminds us that we are not alone, but that we must join together to continually challenge the systems that oppress and harm the most marginalized of our community.
It requires us to reflect on who has been left out of our movements, and demonstrates the need to place queer and trans people of color at the center of our movements. And, perhaps most importantly, LGBT history month gives us an opportunity to celebrate our existence and the lives that we have begun to live openly and without fear.
(Editor’s Note: The spelling of Taylor Sprague’s name has been corrected.)