By Joseph Lyell —
Oct. 25 marked the start of Pride Week at U of L, with events scheduled through Nov. 7. The nearly two-week long celebration is an observance of the LGBT Center’s 10-year anniversary.
On Monday Oct. 30, students gathered around the Red Barn to kick-off Pride Week with a resource fair featuring many of the LGBT Center’s partners.
Lisa Gunterman, Director of the LGBT Center’s Belknap site, said she had many things to be proud of the LGBT Center for accomplishing in its first 10 years on campus.
“We were the first in Kentucky to open an LGBT Center, we were first in the South to open an LGBT and Ally themed housing community (The Bayard Rustin Community), and we were the first in the South to host and LGBT and Ally themed study abroad program,” Gunterman said. “It’s not just the LGBT Center’s work, it’s the whole campus, community coming together to say, ‘Everybody is welcome at the University of Louisville.’”
Brian Buford, Executive Director of the LGBT Center for Louisville’s campuses, talked about the state of LGBT affairs years today, compared to what they were.
“I actually came here in 1998 as a student, and I came out that year. And what I remember is that U of L was never a hostile place, but it was never an open or boldly affirming place,” Burford said. “So I had a really hard time as a student finding out what resources were available to me.”
When the center opened in 2007, Buford was the first staff member hired. He made his goal to provide resources for LGBT students.
“We wanted them to experience U of L as welcomingly and inclusively as possible,” Burford said.
Buford credits the Bayard Rustin Community as a big program that has made U of L one of the most welcoming schools in the country for many students.
The Bayard Rustin Community Center is a housing option at U of L for students interested in LGBT issues and social justice.
Buford also expressed his pride in the new LGBT/Ally Campus Preview, which welcomes high school students interested in LGBT studies.
For information about this year’s Pride Week events, visit http://louisville.edu/lgbt/programs-1/pride-week-1.
Photo by Joseph Lyell / The Louisville Cardinal