Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Dania Matos; Em Huang, director of LGBTQ+ Advancement & Equity; Benjamin E. Hermalin, vice provost for the faculty; Stephen Sutton, vice chancellor for student affairs and Eugene Whitlock, chief people and culture officer sent the following message to the campus community on Wednesday:
This month is Pride Month, a time to celebrate UC Berkeley’s queer and trans students, staff and faculty: We celebrate you, your thriving and your contributions to the campus community.
The month-long celebration of Pride is a recognition of many things: diverse histories, cultures, identities, social justice movements and civil rights victories. But, above all, the month is a celebration of community and belonging for all queer and trans people.
After many months of building a digital community, the last year of queer and trans life on campus was about a return to in-person spaces and connection. This included the return of the annual UNITY Theme Program Drag Show, the QT Pie welcome event and Lavender Graduation, among others. And in a few weeks, students, staff, faculty and alumni will march in the first SF Pride parade held since 2019. (Learn more about how to join UC Berkeley’s Pride parade delegation).
There are other concrete reasons for celebration this year:
- Mauro Sifuentes has been appointed the program director of the Queer Alliance and Resource Center, a student-run organization in charge of providing social, educational, and safe sex programming for the queer and trans community on campus. QARC has opened a new, dedicated hub for programming, community building and resource distribution.
- Em Huang, director for LGBTQ+ Advancement and Equity in the Gender Equity Resource Center, marked one year in the role of fostering support for students and developing leaders.
- The Faculty Link program has launched annual gatherings for LGBTQ+ Senate Faculty.
- There are new institutional pathways to convert gender-specific restrooms to all-gender spaces, although funding gaps still remain.
- Campus leaders are making progress in implementing the Gender Recognition / Lived Name policy, which will allow the administrative systems of the university to recognize the true identities of the campus community.
- Zoom users can also now choose to add their gender pronouns to their profiles. Learn more about why it is important to share your gender pronouns.
- Scholars, like Associate Professor Eric Stanley, have examined queer and trans issues in their academic works.
We must also recognize that LGBTQ+ rights are under attack nationally, from Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law to a Texas executive directive targeting doctors and parents who provide gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth. Let us remember that Pride Month commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots where members of the LGBTQ+ community, led by transgender and gender-nonconforming women of color, rose up against police harassment and persecution. It led to the systematic challenge of discriminatory laws and practices, and activists continue that legacy today. We stand in solidarity with all members of UC Berkeley’s queer and trans communities. The values embodied in our Principles of Community are our guiding light to a “safe, caring and humane environment” where we can all thrive.
We hope you can engage with UC Berkeley’s queer and trans community during many of the upcoming events, including a conversation on supporting LGBTQIA+ communities in higher education on June 8 and the annual UC-wide BLAQOUT! Conference on October 14-16.
We encourage you to take the time this month to learn more about LGBTQ+ history, communities, and events. You can find resources and information on the GenEq, Multicultural Community Center, and Division of Equity & Inclusion websites.