Name: Lisa Tibbles
Hometown: Cortland, NY
Occupation: Program Coordinator, Cortland LGBT Resource Center
Why I Found Her at Creating Change:
I have to say, as a personal note, that it was pretty awesome that I found Lisa at Creating Change. It was totally a random approach on my part, but it turns out Lisa is a fellow Ithaca College alum (Go Bombers!), so we related very easily! Much of what we discussed was sort of outside the context of my Faces For Equality interview, so I’m intentionally leaving out some of the detail out of respect for that.
Lisa is relatively new to her position as project coordinator at the Cortland LGBT Resource Center in Cortland, NY. For 15 years, she taught physical education in a public school and generally was very unhappy. She had to hide her identity as a lesbian and knew that she was experiencing discrimination and prejudice in her work from individuals who suspected. She found it stifling and knew she could not spend her life in that environment. She just couldn’t stand for that kind of inequality:
I’m a lesbian. My rights are just as important as everyone else’s.
The Cortland LGBT Resource Center is one of many community resource centers across the country. It provides services such as resource referrals to LGBT safe and sensitive services, educational trainings, youth and family support services, support groups, advocacy and legal referrals, collaborations with businesses to create LGBT friendly services, and LGBT community event planning. In places where there is little, if any, visibility and support for LGBT folks (like Cortland, as an example), community centers play a vital role in creating a space for the individuals who live in and near that community. Centers help LGBT citizens feel like they can actually be participants in the community without hiding their identities.
New to the job, Lisa sought the counsel of the LGBT support staff at Ithaca College and Syracuse University (my colleagues Lis Maurer and Adrea Jaehnig!), who both told her she should come to Creating Change for new knowledge. Lisa said she was at the conference to be “a sponge for everything.”
What She’d Change in America:
World peace. There’d be compassion for everyone.
Lisa went on to say that she thinks it important we try to be nonjudgmental.
Life is just one big classroom. We can all be teachers for each other.
Ithaca, Forever, Shine your light on me…