Friday, June 17, 2011

A salute to out gay leaders in academe

We know that the academy attracts a lot of queers. Whether they are out is another thing. Last week, prestigious Amherst College named Biddy Martin, a nationally respected academic leader and out lesbian, as its president. Even though we have a long way to go, this can be seen as part of a positive trend in higher education.

Last year, a group of a dozen or so out queer presidents founded LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education, which promotes LGBTQ rights, scholarship, and advocacy. In March 2011, members of the organization served on a panel at the annual meeting of the American Council on Education, and they advised aspiring leaders in academe to be out and open with colleagues, search consultants, and the wider campus community, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. This strategy has apparently served Biddy Martin well, as she was celebrated with unbridled enthusiasm at Amherst.

LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education have posted a touching video on YouTube. The presidents and their partners offer inspiring stories about their success while being out. They say, "We're here to stay. We want to get to know you. Join us."


Annie B said...

We here in the Happy Valley of western Massachusetts are very excited to welcome Biddy Martin to our midst. I think she'll fit right in.

Sapphist Gazetteer said...

Indeed, I agree. I predict President Martin will be a major positive presence in the Happy Valley, or, as I like to call it, the Lesbian Vortex.