LGBT Resources at Rhodes
The Rhodes LGBT Working Group, which was established by Dean of Faculty Michael Drompp and Dean of Students Carol Casey, continuously assesses the college’s LGBT policies and environment to ensure that the Rhodes campus offers the broadest possible inclusivity. This semester the Working Group will partner with various campus offices and academic departments to host panel discussions on LGBT Faith, Being an Ally, and Moving Beyond DOMA. In addition, October 2013 featured a prominent “LGBT, Fine By Me” campaign in which faculty, staff, and students showed their support of the LGBT community by wearing special t-shirts leading up to National Coming Out Day.
As the Working Group continues to promote inclusivity on campus, members of the Rhodes LGBT community, alumni, their friends and supporters are encouraged to participate in the Rhodes College chapter of EquaLynx. During Homecoming/Reunion Weekend 2013, the chapter hosted a career panel for LGBT students and alumni in addition to the annual LGBT Homecoming reception. Details about future EquaLynx events can be found on the chapter page or EquaLynx Facebook page.
Students interested in the LGBT community can connect through various academic, social, service, and faith-based opportunities. The Gender and Sexuality Studies interdisciplinary program offers a wide variety of academic courses that examination address issues of power, politics, privilege, and development under the lens of gender and sexuality. The Gay Straight Alliance offers support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students, as well as a forum for discussing issues relating to gender, sexuality, and the LGBT community. Queer Advocacy, a service and social action group within the Rhodes Kinney Program, promotes integrated community learning and student engagement/empowerment through serving the greater LGBT community of Memphis. PRISM (Progressive Religious Interfaith Student Movement) creates opportunities for LGBT-inclusive interfaith dialogues and celebrations within Rhodes community. Those seeking LGBT-affirming religious organizations within the greater Memphis area can find those resources through the Chaplain’s office.
Many LGBT-related student groups utilize the LGBT Resource room (located in Briggs Hall) which offers a welcoming and supportive environment for LGBT people and their allies. This space also a great place to find information, resources, and referrals on LGBT issues.
Over 300 current faculty, staff, and students are certified Safe Zones on campus, serving as a source of support and information for LGBT students, free of judgment and hostility. In addition to being allies for individual LGBT students, Safe Zone participants attend a series of Brown Bag Lunch sessions throughout the school year to foster discussion around topics such as being transgender in college, coming out to friends, family and parents, and addressing homophobia and heterosexism in society.
Members of the LGBT Working Group: Front row: Mark Behr, Jeff Cleanthes. Middle row: Chad Bohls ′15, Elizabeth Bridges, Leah Ford ′15, Erin Hillis. Back row: Walt Tennyson, Charles Frame, Pam Detrie, Meredith Davis.