GALA Gets a New Name

The Emory Gay and Lesbian Alumni group has changed its name to Emory LGBT+ Alumni, which better reflects the diversity of the LGBT+ community.

By Emory Advancement and Alumni Engagement
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Emory has become a leader in inclusivity for LGBT+ people, setting a high standard for other universities in valuing all voices and making all members of the academic community feel welcome. The annual Blue Jean Brunch, a fundraising and networking event for LGBT+ alumni during Homecoming weekend, is just one celebration of this achievement. This year, the Blue Jean Brunch featured a major announcement: The event’s sponsor, Gay and Lesbian Alumni (GALA), has changed its name to Emory LGBT+ Alumni to represent all members of the community.

Jamie Harrell 16MBA, the 2019 featured speaker and a transgender woman who advocates for diversity in business, made the announcement during the brunch.

“This organization, formerly known as GALA, has been around fighting for all of our rights since 2005, well before I even understood I was trans,” she said. “But we have recognized that our name didn’t necessarily reflect the inclusivity that we embrace. We want a name that makes all members of the LGBT+ community feel invited and included. And so today we are formally announcing our official re-branding to the Emory LGBT+ Alumni group.”

Jamie Harrell with Emory Students

Speaker Jamie Harrell 16MBA takes a selfie with Emory LGBT+ Alumni steering committee members, Stephen Urbrock 88C and Neil Vasudeva 16BBA at the 2019 Blue Jean Brunch

To honor her work on behalf of the transgender community on campus and in the larger community, Harrell received the Outstanding Transgender Advocate of the Year Award during the 2019 Emory Pride Awards in March. At the Blue Jean Brunch, she acknowledged the difficult work of advocacy and the power of community to create positive change.

“We don’t just do these events because they’re fun; we don’t organize just to have a nice meal,” says Harrell. “We organize because even today in 2019, LGBT+ people are still under constant attack—even more so than just three years ago… We come together here today because LGBT+ people are stronger together. We stand united in a world that would try to tear us down, one group at a time.”

The Blue Jean Brunch, which offers sponsorship opportunities for host committee members and donates proceeds from ticket sales, is one of several ways that Emory LGBT+ Alumni generates support for LGBT+ students at Emory. If you missed the brunch this year and want to contribute to one of the nation’s most forward-thinking campus communities for talented young students, please consider making a gift to one of the following Emory LGBT+ Alumni-supported funds. Every gift counts!

GALA Legacy Fund, created by Emory LGBT+ Alumni, supports the expansion of existing student leadership and professional development opportunities such as LGBT+ graduate and professional student networking events as well as new campus-wide education campaigns on sexuality and gender through digital and print ads. Your gifts can give LGBT+ students opportunities to attend retreats or conferences and participate in advocacy activities across campus and throughout Atlanta.​

The Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL)'s LGBT Fund supports political collections that document the work of activists, organizations, and trailblazing political figures to achieve equality. Your support can help digitize the LGBT+ collections and provide grants to visiting scholars and graduate students to use them. 

Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Life Fund supplements the office's annual budget for initiatives such as the Emory Safe Space program and provides financial support for newly formed programs such as the Queer & Trans People of Color community series. Your gifts help the development of students of all gender and sexual identities through activities that create an affirming and just campus.

The Candler Fund for Justice and Inclusion Fund supports student-led efforts to spotlight the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender-nonconforming, and queer individuals. Your support makes special programming possible - like the Sacred Worth's 2019 lecture and discussion day with Bishop Tonyia Rawls, founder and director of the Freedom Center for Social Justice. 

Editor's Note: You can invest in LGBT+ students at Emory by supporting one or more of these funds. Visit The LGBTQ Momentum Project to learn more and to access the secure online giving form.

Emory LGBT+ Alumni maintains and seeks to expand a network of alumni of Emory University in order to organize, serve, and advocate for Emory's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBT) community. Find out how you can join Emory LGBT+ Alumni, or read about Emory's Office of LGBT Life.

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