Erik Ludwig (1976-2015) graduated from Duke in 1998, and his legacy continues to live on at the university, through a new fund in his honor supporting the work of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (CSGD).
My name is Nicholas Antonicci, I use the pronouns he/him/his, and I'm the Director of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity here at Duke University.
Yesterday, I woke to the news of tragedy of 50 innocent people killed at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, a gay bar on a night celebrating Latinx people and communities.
I struggle to put feelings and emotions into words, to put pain into soundbites that appease and comfort those around me.
I struggle with balancing immense sadness for the lives lost, with anger at the forces which allowed this to happen and will continue to happen, namely homophobia and transphobia. I balance wanting to care for others, with frustration in the ways many of those who are responding are centering the feelings of heterosexual and cis peoples.
Dear Duke Families,
As I look out my office window, I have the privilege of seeing our students walking (and rushing) by between classes, meals, meetings and study venues. So many things are apparent on the rare occasion that I get to just pause and admire the passersby. I notice that many seem either immune to the winter chill or in denial about the need to wear warmer clothes! I notice that rarely is anyone walking alone. Students travel in pairs, groups and masses! I notice that some kind of technological device is apparently welded to their ears or their palms (hopefully talking or texting with you). But, I also notice how remarkably different they are, reflecting the substantial and wonderful diversity within the Duke student body.
Jack D explains what happened:
As many of you know, early in the morning yesterday someone entered my dorm and sprawled on the wall of the first floor, “Death to all fags @ Jack.” In just five words and an ‘at’ symbol, my sense of security and safety on this campus was shattered.
Efforts have been made to find the assailant but the likelihood of success seems minimal. However, the person who wrote on the wall is greatly unimportant.
I would like for people to understand who I am. I wish to be a peer and not a name. I grew up near Boston with a single mother and siblings. I played sports throughout school and spent summers volunteering. I am a freshman but have lived as a proudly out and visible gay man on Duke’s campus. I am Jack. I am the fag. I do not deserve this treatment. No one deserves this treatment.
Bernadette Brown has been named the new director of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (CSGD) at Duke.
Collaboration & Change for a Common Good
A Reflection on Collaboration in Campus Life
India Pierce and Sean Novak
One way that we can work effectively to create change for a common good is to work collaboratively across communities. With this in mind, India Pierce from the Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity (CSGD) came together with Sean Novak from the Center for Multicultural Affairs (CMA) to create a program that explored the intersections of race and sexual orientation. As part of the CMA’s En/Countering Racism series (E/C), they created a program for students to gather and explore intersectionality. This was done in order to deepen participants’ understanding of themselves and others as a means to building stronger coalitions for social justice.
During last week’s Greek Ally Week, Blue Devils United hosted a student panel about being both Greek and LGBTQ on Duke’s campus. The next day’s Chronicle article incorrectly identified one of the African-American panelists as “queer,” which made her uncomfortable. “What is ‘queer’ supposed to mean?” she asked me later. The term is vague, politicized, and simultaneously lacking a concrete meaning while burdened with decades of history.
You may ask, “Lavender graduation…why the need for a special ceremony?” I’m glad you asked. A lot of seniors at Duke have been positively affected by their existence at Duke as a LGBTQ student and/or as an ally. Some students have also been very negatively affected and found the Center to be a safe haven at some point in their journey… a place to get support, a place to be greeted by a smiling face, a place to get a hug, a place to crash on the couch, a place to have fun and forget your troubles even if just for an hour. But most of all Lavender graduation is about celebrating who you are and one another as you have walked the campus of Duke as an LGBTQA students…even if you consider that part to only be a small part of who you are.