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December 17th, 2008
Lavender graduation ceremony offers LGBTQ community support and recognition

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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0 thoughts on “Lavender graduation ceremony offers LGBTQ community support and recognition

  1. It’s great to see school departments hosting graduations for all kinds of students regardless of ethnic, sexual, or relegious backgrounds. Props to Texas State Staff.


  2. Ummm, isn’t that what regular graduation is for? I bet if they had a straight only graduation cermony it would go over like poop in a punch bowl. Special graduations for any special group is exclusionary.

  3. The reason Lavender Graduation exists is to give LGBT students a chance to celebrate their accomplishments in a place where they can be themselves around people who they consider “family.” So many of these students’ either have parents and families who do not accept them for them or have completely abandoned them. This is their one chance to be themselves around those who love them and accept them.

    Furthermore, this is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. A Straight-only graduation ceremony would not be considered something that most would categorize as “multicultural” in nature.

    Living as a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person is difficult, and being an LGBT student in Texas is even more difficult. We do not ask for much…All we ask for with this graduation is an hour long ceremony recognizing the accomplishments of LGBT students, those who not only had to deal with the stresses of being a student, but also the stresses of being gay. If you do not like that, the the solution is simple: Don’t attend.

  4. Tyler, what do you mean “straight-only graduation would not be considered multicultural”… ??? Duh, try going to the regular university graduation and you will see true multiculturalism–all kinds of people graduating TOGETHER, unified as Texas State Alumni!! Now THAT is multiculturalism. And the spirit of what graduation should be— united–as humans, not separated by some meaningless label that only creates problems of prejudice.
    As President-elect Obama says, “time for change”…time we all start working together and quite crawling into corners with “our own kind” which leads to misundertanding and stupid hatred!

  5. I think I would like to see a SAB graduation ceremony just for all of the straight, anglo, Baptist graduates. If you are not straight, angle, and Baptist, you are not allowed to participate. Sounds pretty multi-cultural, doesn’t it?? Sounds pretty damn exclusive to me but then again, any special graduation ceremony for a special group is exclusive. If you are LGBT, fine with me, but don’t expect any special treatment because of it.

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