The new group LGTBQ Presidents in Higher Education seems extremely promising. While its membership of 25 depends on how long they each stay in their positions, the group’s momentum and potential are quite strong.
There’s something I think is unique about this group, or at the very least about the attention it has let itself get. I don’t think there is another group for higher education professionals that is specifically for individuals with queer identities. This might sound surprising. Both ACPA and NASPA have many LGBT-specific efforts and goals, and certainly it is no secret that most of the members of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals identity as queer as well. But none of these groups are specifically for LGBTQ professionals.
Another interesting aspect of the Presidents group is a willingness to be public advocates. One of my largest complaints about higher education is that we have this profession full of people who study and promote social justice in their work, and yet the field itself is so very insular and self-serving such that much of that potential for change stops at the campus border. The Presidents group, on the other hand, has made itself quite visible, and now they have also now produced an It Gets Better-esque/Coming Out video that I think is extremely effective.
While I know these university leaders have very busy lives administrating their institutions, I hope this is a trend that they continue. Higher education is a source of leadership and support embedded in our culture, and only good can from its professionals speaking out and trying to make a difference in society.
Read more about the group here and check out the video below: