At JHU, a 'confluence' of LGBT outreach efforts

The LGBT community at Johns Hopkins University seems to be getting more organized by the minute.

Since the spring, three new efforts to connect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and community members have launched -- one led by university students, one by university alumni and one by the university itself.

"It's the outcome of a lot of work from a lot of people," said Demere Woolway, 30, hired in July to be the first director of the university's new LGBTQ Life program. "There's sort of a confluence of things."

Woolway's position, and the program, are the result of a proposal put forward by the university's Diversity Leadership Council, which "recognized the need for more support for LGBT folks as well as more education on sexual orientation and gender identity," Woolway said.

The new program will serve as "a hub or a central place where people can go to find out information about LGBT resources across" the Johns Hopkins system, Woolway said, from undergraduate programs at the Homewood campus to resources for LGBT workers at the Applied Physics Laboratory.

University President Ronald Daniels is hosting an official launch event for the program on Oct. 7, open to the university community, in Charles Commons, where representatives from various LGBT university groups will be present to chat with those in attendance.

One of those groups is the student-led oSTEM -- which stands for Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The group is a new professional development group for students, and held its first meeting last month.

This weekend also happens to be Young Alumni Weekend at JHU, and the LGBT-group JHU Pride, which organized last spring as a networking group for LGBT graduates of the university, is hosting a reception open to the university community on Friday, in the Gilman Atrium.

All of the groups are brainstorming new initiatives and events for the future.

Woolway, who is also co-chair of the national Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, said she hopes her office can help in all those efforts.


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