LGBTQ+ Students Celebrated in Lavender Graduation

Baldwin Wallace University held a Lavender Graduation ceremony on April 21 to recognize and celebrate LGBTQ+ graduates.  

The Center for Inclusion, Division of Student Affairs, and the LGBTQ+ Task Force sponsored the event.  

According to Ana Boe, coordinator of LGBTQ+ services and co-advisor of Allies, the event is put on anually to celebrate LGBTQ+ students as and acknowledge the unique difficulties they face.  

“It’s particularly important because LGBTQ+ students might actually not have the support of their families,” Boe sid. “They might not even be able to be out to their families.”  

She says many students on campus are part of this community, and it is essential that they feel acknowledged and appreciated.  

Everyone, including straight allies of the LGBTQ+ community, were welcomed to participate in the event.  

Boe said this event is especially relevant because of events happening in America’s broader culture.  

“It is not wrong to say that politicians are targeting LGBTQ+ youth and using them as a political wedge by politicizing access to trans affirming health care,” said Boe. “And even politicizing the sheer knowledge of LGBTQ+ people in the K-12 curriculum as though LGBTQ+ people are unspeakable.” 

Students can support the community by staying informed of laws, voting for representatives that advocate for LGBTQ+ people, and supporting LGBTQ+ initiatives on campus.  

Tim Morrison, a leadership in higher education intern, participated in the ceremony.  

Morrison practiced as a clergy member of the United Methodist Church for 20 years, where he put on a “mask” of what people thought a clergyperson should be.  

He left the clergy when the church strengthened its position against the ordination and marriage of LGBTQ+ people, deciding to come out and begin graduate school at BW.  

He said the ceremony is a recognition of this time in his life.  

“I am different from the average student population,” Morrison said. “I am 45 years old. I just came out two years ago, so part of this journey of my master’s program has been this story.”  

As graduates enter the workforce, Morrison says allies should be aware of opportunities to stand up for LGBTQ+ people in the workplace to ensure they are treated equally.  

Morrison plans to use his experiences to help students be their authentic selves.   

“You don’t have to leave your faith at the door when you come out,” said Morrison. There is a place for faith in the LGBT world.”