Dr. Wells' birthday was recently. Of his countless contributions to our university and beyond, we remain grateful to Dr. Wells for teaching us the benefits of diversity years before it became fashionable to do so, for being in the forefront of racial integration, and for speaking for those without a voice.
The GLBTAA Board extends best wishes for a safe and enjoyable summer. We hope you participate in one or more of the many events across the nation celebrating 2016 PRIDE! As stated in President Obama's Proclamation , "as Americans wave their flags of pride high and march boldly forward in parades and demonstrations, let us celebrate how far we have come and reaffirm our steadfast belief in the equal dignity of all Americans."
This month's newsletter has fewer articles than usual and focuses on the heartfelt essay/profile of longtime GLBTAA member and supporter Marty Siegel.
Mike Shumate, Past President
1. Member Profile
|Marty Siegel, Professor of Informatics and Computing, Cognitive Science, and Education
I never expected I would be a professor at Indiana University. In fact, when I got the phone call from Howard Mehlinger, former University Dean of Education and the new Director of the Center for Excellence in Education (CEE), I told him that I was not interested in the job of being the Center's first Director of the Laboratory for Research and Development in Teaching and Learning. I was on leave from my faculty position at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and working at a new start-up in Minneapolis called "Authorware," later to merge with another company to become Macromedia and then sold to Adobe. I was enjoying the fast-paced life of a start-up, working for a former Apple director who reported to Steve Jobs. Howard responded to my disinterest in the IU position by suggesting that he fly out to meet me and enjoy a quiet dinner together. That dinner changed my life. He shared his vision for the CEE - part academic, part business - and transforming the use of educational technology in schools and corporations. The R&D director would play a key role in the Center.
While the offer was extraordinary, there was a concern that I had not shared with Howard. I had recently "come out" and was separated from my wife and our two children, ages 11 and 17. It was clear that we were heading for an amicable divorce, but the thought of moving from a large city such as Minneapolis, where it was relatively easy to be gay, to Bloomington, Indiana, where I might be pushed back into the closet, created a personal dilemma. Fortunately, one of my contacts in Minnesota knew a gay IU journalism professor, David Adams. I called David and we discussed the scene in Bloomington, a progressive oasis in a conservative state. He invited me to his home the next time I visited, and he would ask some friends to meet me. The evening with David and friends was a hoot, but I felt like I was being vetted for the community!
You can anticipate the end of this part of the story. I moved to Bloomington, became Director of R&D for the Center and a Professor of Education for the Instructional Systems Technology Department. I loved my work and the Hoosier spirit I encountered. It was during my first year at IU, still in the closet to my professional colleagues and students, that I met Doug Bauder over a gay phone line service (there was no Facebook or Grinder in 1991, two years before the first graphical browser was created). We were introduced to each other through a mutual acquaintance who knew he had two children, as did I. At this point I was going through a divorce, I had not come out to my children, and I was fully engaged with my university work. Doug and I talked to each other almost every day for six months when we decided to meet in Chicago; Doug was working in the Madison, WI area as a pastor for a small rural Moravian church. Our meeting resulted in a serious relationship that included seven-hour drives from Bloomington to Madison every other week. It was a time of transition for us both, and a year later Doug decided to move to Bloomington to share his life with me. We didn't know at that time that several months later he would be applying for the coordinator position of the newly formed GLBT Student Services Office, a division of the Dean of Students. Doug moved from being a pastor of 50 people in his rural congregation to supporting and educating a 37,000 person campus; it was an extraordinary opportunity and a challenge fraught with political issues for an evolving "town and gown" culture.
Of course our nascent relationship created a new challenge for me. My boyfriend was newly named to coordinate the GLBT office and I was still in the closet with colleagues and students. It reminded me of that famous t-shirt from the 90s: "I'm not gay, but my boyfriend is." Obviously I needed to come out to Howard, which I did, but it was some years later, in 1998, before I changed my public identity. A tragic event - the murder of Matthew Shepard - precipitated this change. On October 15, 1998, I sent the following e-mail to the faculty and students of my academic department:
"Subject: A safe place to learn
Last night, I had the honor of attending the vigil in Dunn Meadow to
celebrate the memory of Matthew Shepard, an undergraduate at the University of Wyoming who was tied up, tortured, pistol-whipped, and left to die, in part, because he was gay.
We were challenged by those that spoke at the vigil to ask ourselves how we might help make our university a safer place for all to learn. I can't tell
you how to do this, or even if it should be one of your priorities. That's
your decision. But I do know that I must end my silence and release the
burden that has been on my shoulders since I joined the faculty at Indiana
University in 1991. I am gay. It is not an easy thing to admit in the
workplace, even for a person who has the protection of tenure and full
rank. This announcement may not be news to some of you. I do not know.
But if this small statement can increase the security -- physical or
emotional -- of any IU faculty, staff, or student, then I hope my simple
act serves this purpose. I am not embarking on a political crusade, nor
will you see me march in parades (and please don't put me on every
diversity committee!). My life still revolves around my work, my children,
and my partner, Doug.
I don't request any response to this note. I'm making this statement for
those who live in fear as well as for myself. Thanks.
The response was swift and overwhelmingly positive from faculty colleagues, staff, and students. The most treasured responses, however, were from two students - one man and one woman - who told me that my statement gave them the courage to come out too, and that they knew I would have their back.
My act of vulnerability taught me an important lesson. We gay professors have a responsibility to model and practice openness, and to show others that we are not afraid of being our authentic selves. This one act of momentary courage (my finger paused for two minutes on the Send button before pressing the key and revealing my secret) has led to so much good.
My professional life has been full. In 1999, I founded the first start-up company from Indiana University - WisdomTools. That lasted nearly ten years until we sold the company. In 2001, I moved my principal appointment from Education to the newly formed School of Informatics. There I founded the Human-Computer Interaction Design Program and later became the school's first Executive Dean and the Chair of the Informatics Department. Today, I'm the Director of Graduate Studies for Informatics, and I'm working on my second major start-up company, Glerb - a knowledge exchange and learning system that allows anyone to contribute and take interactive, adaptive, mastery-based learning.
Twenty-five years after my arrival to this Hoosier state I'm still Doug's life-partner. And on November 25, 2015, Doug and I got married after the Supreme Court gave their permission. Now I'm nearly 69 years old, still going strong but anticipating my retirement years. I'm writing a book, The Design Habit, and enjoy teaching undergraduate and graduate students about interaction design.
Matthew Shepard's tragedy was a turning point in this professor's life, and my life has been blessed ever since. I owe much to Indiana University, my husband, my loving family, students, and friends.
2. Quarryland Men's Chorus
Quarryland Men's Chorus, based in Bloomington, recently completed its fourteenth season with a performance at the June 14 Candlelight Vigil for Orlando Victims on the steps of Bloomington's City Hall and two performances out-of-state. For its spring concert, Why We Sing, performed April 30 and May 1 in Bloomington, the group hosted the Cincinnati Men's Chorus for a joint concert. On June 18-19, Quarryland members traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, to complete the exchange, performing a concert entitled Voices of the Heart Land at Christ Church Cathedral. The two choruses joined forces to open the concert with an un-programmed piece, surrounding the audience to sing "We Shall Overcome" in support of the victims and survivors of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, which occurred the previous week. The emotional concert continued with each chorus performing its own set, followed by an inspiring performance by Cincinnati's Diverse City Youth Chorus. The groups joined forces to conclude the concert by performing "Why We Sing" followed by a more celebratory "We Are Family."
The Cincinnati concert served as a preview of each chorus's subsequent performance at the GALA Choruses Festival 2016 in Denver, Colorado, during the first week of July. Since its founding in 2002, Quarryland has been affiliated with GALA Choruses, an association serving the LGBTQ choral movement. Every four years, GALA Choruses hosts an international choral festival for its member choruses. This year's festival featured more than 165 performing ensembles and drew nearly 7000 people to the Mile High City for five days of music, learning, mutual support, and celebration. Quarryland first attended the GALA Festival in 2012 where 16 singers amazed the audience with a challenging and beautifully executed concert set.
Following several years of planning by the board and artistic staff, as well as generous support from its donors and loyal community of supporters, this year Quarryland returned to the Denver stage with 30 singers along with Artistic Director Barry Magee, accompanist Wendy Elliott, and ASL interpreter Chuck Daube. There to support the performers were about a dozen fans, including a non-singing board member and several spouses, parents, children, and siblings of chorus members. The group took the stage on July 4th in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, performing a set of songs by IU Alumnus Hoagy Carmichael arranged especially for Quarryland by David Maddox, and Quarryland's newest commissioned work "You Who Are Young," with lyrics by founding member Donovan Walling, music by Indiana composer Debra Lynn, and featuring Mitch Serslev on solo French Horn. As the only Indiana chorus performing at the Festival, Quarryland once again represented Indiana well, drawing praise for its smooth sound, close harmonies, excellent blend, and musicality.
The GALA Festival provides a wonderful performance opportunity for participating ensembles, but beyond that it can be a truly transformational experience for those who attend. As chorus member Kyle Hays stated, "One of the most powerful aspects of the GALA Festival has been the consistent message of ally-ship and standing up for those whose voices are being silenced... We have to speak out for one another, stand up with each other, and act in accordance with our desire to see everyone feel safe and free. My heart is heavy, but I am also inspired after watching literally thousands of people this week sing messages of love, equality, and social justice for ALL people." Jonathan Crocket also reflected on his experience, saying "My first experience with GALA has come to an end. The time that I've spent here has left me with an incredible feeling of love and family. The performances that I was able to attend left me wanting more. I laughed during the Holiday Hullabaloo with the large choruses and small ensembles, cried during the Windy City Men's Chorus performance, felt a sense of hope with the Cincinnati Men's Chorus performance, nostalgia with the Seattle Women's Chorus, and shivers during the 'I Am Harvey Milk' concert, just to name a few. When I joined Quarryland in February of 2013, I honestly never imagined myself here singing with, and listening to, some of the most talented people this Earth has produced. I have witnessed a great thing!"
Quarryland members returned to Indiana excited to begin the group's 15th season: Celebrate! Rehearsals begin August 1 at First United Church in Bloomington, with an open house on August 22 and auditions on August 29. Performing membership is open to all who identify as male and desire to sing. Current members range from trained musicians to beginners and come from throughout South Central Indiana and the Indianapolis area. Those seeking more information may visit us online at
3. GLBTAA Scholarship Campaign
Please continue to "spread the word" about our ground-breaking Campaign, which will help endow our GLBTAA Scholarship Program. We recently awarded five academic scholarship for the 2016 fall semester. Each recipient will be featured in one of our Newsletters. Our first recipient is featured in paragraph #4 below. After reviewing two more heart-breaking stories, we also recently awarded emergency funds to an IU East student and an IU Bloomington student. Since 2005, we have granted 74 scholarships (58 academic scholarships and 16 emergency scholarships) to IU students. Because of your generous support, we will be able to continue providing scholarships well into the future.
Shane L. Windmeyer, MS '97, Executive Director and founder of Campus Pride, has commented about our Scholarship Program, particularly about our emergency grants: "IU remains one of the best campuses for GLBT support in the country. Crisis assistance funding, for example, is now a new benchmark for the Campus Pride Index, and the GLBTAA emergency scholarship is a great example. IU has definitely raised the bar nationally. I'm proud that IU has been a leader in that. IU has always stood as an institution of higher learning that embraces diversity."
Contributions can be made online at Campaign Contributions If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Mike Shumate at [email protected] or 858-922-6105; or IUAA Alumni Relations Officer Clarence Boone at 800-824-3044. Again, heartfelt gratitude to everyone for supporting our Campaign.
THANK YOU, IU alumni, faculty, staff, students, allies and our many friends!
4. Academic Scholarship Recipient
Congratulations are extended to Cameron L. Kantner, one of our 2016 Fall Academic Scholarship recipients! Cameron received his BA last year in Sociology and Gender Studies from IU Bloomington. He is now pursuing his MS in Counseling and Counselor Education from IUB's School of Education. Cameron's senior thesis, "Graffiti with a Purpose: Social Justice Conversations in University Bathroom Stalls," within the Department of Gender Studies involved research of IU bathroom stall graffiti in gender-specified restrooms, along with another Gender Studies student, to raise awareness of sexual assault issues and was presented at the Hutton Honors College Symposium. Cameron continues to serve as a career peer at IU's Career Development Center, advising and empowering students with job and internship resources for their future professional opportunities. He also is continuing as a behavioral health technician at Centerstone, among other responsibilities, guiding clients with mental illness to establish independent living skills. This fall he will serve as the counseling intern for the GLBT Student Support Services office on the Bloomington campus. Cameron has commented on his aspirations, "I hope to be a counselor within the LGBTQ community with a focus on relationship counseling. The dynamics within a same-sex couple often differ from that of heterosexual relationship." We're proud of you, Cameron!
The GLBTAA has had a Facebook page for some time now, but some of you may not be aware of it. If you haven't already done so, check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/iuglbtaa. "Like" our page and follow our Facebook posts regarding news, updates and information about our events.
6. Did You Know?
The Orlando mass shooting could have a lasting impact on the mental health of our LGBTQ community. After any mass shooting, there are concerns about addressing mental health issues and PTSD symptoms among survivors, police officers, health care personnel, and others. After the country's second most deadly shooting at Virginia Tech, for example, a study showed that 15 percent of students experienced high levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms.
The fact that the Orlando gunman targeted a gay nightclub, however, affects the sense of security of LGBTQ people in a very specific way. The shooting took place at a place where LGBTQ individuals have historically been able to express themselves openly in the feeling of safety. In the aftermath of the tragedy, President Obama called the nightclub a "a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights."
LGBTQ-specific spaces, like pride festivals and gay clubs "provide that sense of inclusion and social solidarity," according to Long Doan, a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at IU Bloomington. Doan studies, among other topics, (i) how heterosexuals perceive public displays of affection among LGBTQ communities and (ii) Americans' attitudes toward same-sex families compared to heterosexual families. When that safety is threatened in cases like this shooting, it's as if "people don't really have an open space where they can express themselves freely," said Doan.
Targeting a queer space puts a strain on a community that is particularly vulnerable. The LGBTQ community is already grappling with the mental health issues that stem from discrimination. Being bullied for being different can lead to PTSD symptoms later in life. LGBTQ people are three times more likely to experience a mental health condition, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and LGBTQ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than straight people. LGBTQ people are also more likely to be targeted for a hate crime than other minorities.
The Bloomington Herald-Times recently ran two articles about the LGBTQ community, and both were republished by the IU Bloomington Newsroom. Both articles covered a number of interviews of people in our local communities, including several GLBTAA members.
The first article discusses the unique challenges black LGBTQ people can face. http://news.indiana.edu/releases/iub/iu-in-the-news/DNB-06-27-2016.shtml Focusing on the intersection of race and sexual orientation, Bryan Bradford, Senior Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at the IU Alumni Association, said, "attitudes toward the LGBT community have changed over time, so LGBT youth now have options that were unheard of decades ago. But although there are spaces that allow them to embrace their identities, people should also be careful not to be defined too narrowly.'
"Be you first, and then worry about all the rest," Bradford continued "If I compartmentalize myself, then I push myself in that corner that people can cast me in. If I figure out the things that are good that I enjoy, then it is way easier to navigate not only the letters but even beyond the letters, because that really is what the rest of the world is."
Addressing the backlash, Steve Sanders, IU Maurer law professor, observed, "the most prominent example of that is North Carolina, where social conservatives passed measures that limit individuals' access in government buildings to restrooms and changing facilities that correspond to the sex listed on their birth certificates. The measures also nullify an ordinance banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people that had been passed by the city of Charlotte and bar local governments in the state from enacting similar ordinances - sticking their thumb in the eye of the progress of LGBT people."
"There's a group of hard-core religious social conservatives in states like North Carolina that want to do everything they can to throw sand in the gears of that progress," Sanders said.
7. GLBTAA Scholarships
GLBTAA Academic Scholarships Academic Scholarships are awarded to IU students enrolled at any IU campus, who are academically strong, as well as active in promoting diversity, tolerance and social justice. Scholarships are awarded to students based upon academic achievement, career goals, financial need, leadership experience, community service and extracurricular activities. Involvement in activities promoting diversity and raising awareness of GLBT and related issues on the student's campus or in his or her community is carefully reviewed by the Board. The maximum award for an Academic Scholarship is $1,000 per semester. An individual student may not receive more than $2,000. The deadline for the Fall 2016 semester is April 15, 2016.
IU GLBTAA Emergency Scholarships
Emergency Scholarships are awarded to those students who experience the loss of financial support when they make the courageous decision to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity to their families. Emergency Scholarships help to ensure that students need not choose between their education at IU and living life openly and honestly. Emergency Scholarships are awarded to students attending any IU campus. The maximum award for an Emergency Scholarship is $1,500 per semester, and a student may not receive more than $3,000.
Encourage your friends to join the GLBTAA. They can visit our website here and join. There are no membership dues, and you do not have to be a member of the IUAA, or an IU degree-holder. We are approaching 1,600 members nation-wide, and we're growing! We appreciate your continued commitment! It is because of you that the GLBTAA is in existence, continues to grow and continues to serve our important mission on all eight of IU's campuses. If you are a member and wish to continue receiving our e-Newsletters, please make sure we have a current e-mail address for you. You can visit https://alumni.indiana.edu/my-iu/index.html to see if your official record, including your e-mail address, is current. Thank you for your support through your membership. We look forward to serving you now and in the years to come. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Clarence Boone, Alumni Relations Officer, at: [email protected] or Mike Shumate at [email protected]
If not already a member, please consider joining the IUAA by visiting https://alumni.indiana.edu/membership/index.html, by [email protected] or calling (800) 824-3044. By joining the IUAA, among many other things, you help fund the various GLBTAA programs, along with gaining access to IUAA member-only events.
If you would like to unsubscribe and terminate future communications from the GLBTAA, please respond to: [email protected].