These are pieces of the ceremony I put together for Ohio University’s Pride Graduation Celebration (I took out the more protocol-ly portions). It was my first Pride Graduation as a person and as a director. Many blessings to all who are graduating in various ways in life…may the journey traveled provide insight and the journey to come much adventure!
Tonight we come together as community and as familia to celebrate the journeys and adventures of our graduates…as well as honor the journeys and adventures to come…with all of the bumps and bloopers, insights and inspirations, trials and triumphs, parties and passions, tears and laughter. We celebrate all members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities…those who have found sanctuary in the LGBT Center as well as those who have created sanctuary for themselves and others throughout the university.
Many have come into voice and self while here at OHIO…that living into wholeness will continue as you continue and/or start new chapters of your life’s adventure. Some of you are going to grad school, others to summer jobs and first “real”jobs, others back home to discern what comes next, and others all of the above. My challenge to you graduates and non-graduates, family and friends, allies and advocates, faculty and staff is to embody the words of prophet and poet Dr. Maya Angelou…“be a rainbow in someone else’s could”and my tweaked version “be a rainbow in your own clouds.”What the road ahead will bring we don’t know, but enjoy the confusion, take chances, and get messy…as Dr Angelou say’s “you alone are enough, you have nothing to prove, if you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be”…and I would add, how amazing you already are.
The LGBT Center has gone through many changes this year—my joining the team as head queer and fearless leader…Sarah Tucker Jenkins bringing the sunniness of Florida…an increased visibility on all OHIO campuses, and more programming much to my awesome staff’s delight (and at times horror). We also finalized two new scholarship funds for the center, work that Dr. Susanne Dietzel began last year during her role as interim director. Retiring professor and associate dean of the Honors Tutorial College Jan Hodson and her husband WOUB director Tom Hodson initiated an emergency fund that will carry their name to support LGBT students in emergency and crisis situations. Our thanks to them for their generosity and solidarity.
A heartfelt congratulations to all our graduates…go out there and do it to it with your awesome selves…be rainbows!!!
On behalf of all of here at the center, we offer our glitterful, rainbowfilled, lgbtastic, queerest muchas gracias to all for celebrating with us tonight. Live long and prosper…and make good choices!
featured image taken at Pride Graduation by my dearly beloved Jason Hernandez