LGBTQIA Research, Service, and Activism

"Smarter is Safer: Increasing Information Access for LGBTQIA Students"

(Presented at the Florida College English Association Conference 2019)

It is widely understood that faculty programs such as "Safe Zone" and student organizations like GSA (Gay/Straight Alliance) benefit the mental health and academic success of LGBTQIA students. However, there still remain barriers to the personal and professional development of these students. A study published this summer in the Journal of Information Management found that LGBTQIA students struggled to access the information they needed regarding gender, sexuality, and health from campus resources such as the library, advising, and student affairs. This dearth of information is exacerbated here in Florida (and many other states) by anti-gay curriculum legislation that dangerously limits access to knowledge for high-school students. As faculty, we have the opportunity and responsibility to bridge this gap. While programs such as "Safe Zone" are one way to communicate our support to students, we may also develop pedagogical practices that build relationships with and empower LGBTQIA students. During this talk, I elaborated on this issue and offered practical solutions for faculty who seek to support students of all identities and expressions.

SafeZone LGBTQIA Ally Training

We live in an ever-diversifying society, and in order to be supportive and aware of different identities, perspectives, and experiences, we must pursue (and provide) opportunities to learn about different identities, perspectives, and experiences – particularly ones that are stigmatized, marginalized, and largely silenced. Safe Zone Workshops are opportunities on college campuses for students, staff, faculty, and community members to learn a little more about how sexuality and gender influence our everyday experiences, and often a chance to learn about these topics from individuals within the university community. In my role as a SafeZone facilitator at FSW, I have led trainings for staff and faculty and helped revamp the curriculum to reflect the evolving needs of LGBTQIA people.

LIT 2201: Queer Literature

In Spring 2020, I piloted FSW's first "Queer Literature" class under the "Special Topics in Literature" course. This course will explores literature by AND about queer and trans people. “Queer” functions as a multi-faceted term that encompasses all people of non-cisheteronormative gender and sexual identity and expression. We engage with texts across the globe and throughout history to better understand the queer human experience and the literary aesthetics of queerness. Because this course is writing-intensive, students are also expected to actively participate in comprehending, interpreting, and discussing the literature we read as a class.