Gender and sexuality resources to host first Lavender Graduation commemorating LGBTQ+ students

Gender+and+sexuality+resources+will+host+the+universitys+first+Lavender+Graduation+to+commemorate+LGBTQ%2B+students+in+the+Griffin+Center+6+p.m.+April+27.+%28Graphic+by+Alyssa+DeWig%29

Gender and sexuality resources will host the university’s first “Lavender Graduation” to commemorate LGBTQ+ students in the Griffin Center 6 p.m. April 27. (Graphic by Alyssa DeWig)

Anthony Rawley, Staff Writer

Gender and sexuality resources will host the university’s first “Lavender Graduation” to commemorate graduating LGBTQ+ students. The ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. April 27 in the Griffin Center. 

Brianna Aldana, student coordinator of gender and sexuality resources, said students registered to participate in the Lavender Graduation from January to March. Aldana said eight students registered and will be recognized with a certificate to commemorate the milestone of graduating.

“It’s just a way to recognize specifically our LGBTQ+ students who are graduating because it’s a huge milestone for everybody, and we just want to give them the space to celebrate specifically together,” Aldana said.

According to the Human Rights Campaign website, a lavender graduation “is an annual ceremony conducted on numerous campuses to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally students to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the University.”

It’s just a way to recognize specifically our LGBTQ+ students who are graduating because it’s a huge milestone for everybody, and we just want to give them the space to celebrate specifically together.”

— Brianna Aldana, student coordinator of gender and sexuality resources

The color lavender is symbolic to LGBTQ+ history. According to HRC, “It is a combination of the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear in concentration camps and the black triangle designating lesbians as political prisoners in Nazi Germany.”

Aldana said the graduation gives students the opportunity to recognize other accomplishments they may have achieved, such as organizations, awards and scholarships.

Aldana said planning for the program was formed by the graduate assistant. By August of last year, the plans for the event started to be set in motion.

At Lavender Graduation, students are allowed to bring two friends or family members as guests. Aldana said graduating students will also receive a certificate and a lavender cord to wear during their commencement ceremony.

Aldana said there will be appetizers and cupcakes with lavender icing served at the graduation.

“We really wanted it to not necessarily have a formal vibe, but definitely a celebration vibe,” Aldana said. “They can wear their cap and gowns if they want to and take pictures with their cord and their cap and gown.”

Aldana said every registered student will have the opportunity to nominate a “Lavender Leader,” someone on campus who has played an integral role in their college experience.

I wish I had something like that whenever I was graduating, so I’m really excited to hear about it being a thing now.”

— Ripley Davis, sophomore visual art teaching major

According to USI’s press release, Lavender Graduation will require faculty and staff volunteers to make a compilation video congratulating students and event volunteers.

Ripley Davis, sophomore visual art teaching major, said he is excited for Lavender Graduation as an LGBTQ+ student.

“I wish I had something like that whenever I was graduating, so I’m really excited to hear about it being a thing now,” Davis said.

Hope Burdette, senior art major, said she thinks it is awesome LGBTQ+ students have a special thing to celebrate.

Aldana said she wants Lavender Graduation to be annual.

“So in order to make this successful, I just need people to — not necessarily for this particular ceremony because we’ve got people who’ve already decided to volunteer — but if students are around next year and they’re interested in volunteering at any of the events that we do for this program, we’re always open to that,” Aldana said.