Soon to be alumnus of Texas State University, Jason Moody, has been looking forward to participating in the Lavender Graduation Celebration since its inception in the spring of 2004,
“The idea that I get to receive sashes for who I am is a great feeling and it’s something to look forward to,” said Moody.
The Lavender Graduation Celebration is a pre-graduation ceremony held for students that belong to the LGBTQ (or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning) community in recognition of their hard work and in support of their individuality. The celebration is sponsored by The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs along with the ALLIES of Texas State and Alliance.
This year’s celebration took place on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 in the LBJ Student Center. Five out of eight graduating members of the LGBTQ community were given colorful sashes and certificates, presented by Dr. Joanne Smith, the Vice-President for Student Affairs at Texas State University, Kevin D. Gilley, Development Officer, College of Fine Arts and Communication and Dr. Colleen M. Connolly, Associate Professor. Dr. Jacqueline Cooper, Assistant Professor at Texas State University delivered the keynote address.
Many who are involved with the Lavender Graduation Celebration view the ceremony as an integral component of the graduation process for the LGBTQ community. Jesse Silva, Student Development Coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, believes that it is important to create an atmosphere of acceptance for these students.
“I think it’s important to demonstrate that we do care and value [the students] but also, it allows them to celebrate in public. Often times, their lifestyle is not considered ‘the norm’ so giving them that safe zone and the liberty to revel in their own delight and be able to be around family and friends, is absolutely important,” said Silva.
Alumna Sue Stewart, one of the first graduates to participate in the Lavender Graduation Celebration, expressed that Lavender is something that uniquely belongs to LGBTQ students.
“Lavender has really helped us as a community have something for ourselves. There was never anything at the end that was just for us. By having our own celebration we can eat together, talk about being gay together and celebrate our lives together,” said Stewart.
Story and photos by Christina Zambrano
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