The LGBTQIA Center kicked off its 10th year celebration with an alumni panel and reception
Ten years ago, M. Grant Hogan ’07 was a senior involved in student government who helped establish the LGBTQIA Center at Connecticut College.
“That was a great opportunity to build a home and community,” Hogan said, reflecting on the experience while speaking at the College on Feb. 11. “It felt like what was missing when we all started at school.”
Hogan was one of four LGBTQ alumni invited to speak at the College to mark the LGBTQIA Center’s 10th anniversary. The panel discussion was the first in a series of events meant to “celebrate the legacy that we are building here at Conn of being inclusive of all folks, of all sexualities and genders,” said Erin Duran, director of the LGBTQIA Center.
Even when equal rights are achieved in the U.S., “it’s always going to be important for folks to have a space where they can come and feel safe discussing their gender or sexuality.”
Panel members were Hogan ’07, a federal consultant in the District of Columbia; Liana M. Douillet Guzman ’05, executive team member at Blokchain; Alexandra Bolles ’13, senior strategist at GLAAD; and Maisha Yearwood ’94, a screenplay writer and playwright.
The panel was moderated by Randsel Brannum ’17, a history and American studies major who is chair of the Queer People of Color (QPOC) student group.
Douillet Guzman said having a dedicated space like the LGBTQIA Center when she was a student would have made it easier to facilitate connections with other students in the LGBTQ community. Yet even without a center, “I felt very wholly accepted,” she said. “I had a really positive experience here.”
When Yearwood was a senior in 1994, “Conn was different,” she said during the panel. “It looks the same, but there was no center. People were not really out.
“I’m very proud of what Conn has turned into,” she said. “It’s been interesting to see how much has changed. It’s wonderful.”
Alumni who are interested in getting involved with the Center can reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org.