Virginia Tech commemorates June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month — a time to recognize the positive impact the LGBTQ+ community has had on the local, state, and federal levels.

This special month is recognized by the Hokie community through the Virginia Tech Principles of Community, where all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including those based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation are rejected.

The Principles of Community also call upon Virginia Tech’s collective responsibility in increasing its own understanding of these issues through education, training, and interaction with others.

Virginia Tech recently honored the LGBTQ+ community in April by hosting a weeklong series of programs and events during Pride Week from April 5-9. Pride Week invited community members to engage and learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.

Pride Week offered social opportunities where participants engaged in such activities as Pride T-shirt Tie-Dye, a HokiePRIDE Movie Night featuring the film “Moonlight,” and a social media campaign for Denim Day, a chance for Virginia Tech community members to show their love and support for the LGBTQ+ community by wearing denim and sharing it with the #VTDenimDay.

Virtual webinars were also offered on the topics of Queer in Appalachia, Breaking the Binary Helps Break White Supremacy, and Out at Work, which was presented by Ex Lapide, the LGBTQ+ Virginia Tech alumni group, who shared experiences being LGBTQ+ in the workplace and how they have been able to navigate disclosure in professional spaces.

Stephanie Beatriz, actress in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” shared how her voice played an integral role in the bisexual community by empowering participants to live their fullest and most authentic life.

The Office for Inclusion and Diversity dedicated an episode of its virtual conversation series Making the Chair Fit toward showcasing a panel of LGBTQ+ Virginia Tech alumni Mark Weber, Nancy Kelly, and Scott Beadle, who all exemplify Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) and who have made a tremendous difference for the LGBTQ+ community. Menah Pratt-Clarke, vice president for strategic affairs and diversity, hosted the conversation, which gave insight into the challenges faced by these trailblazing students who openly expressed their truths on the Virginia Tech campus. View the episode.

LGBTQ+ community members and allies also have year-round support and resources available at the LGBTQ+ Resource Center at Virginia Tech. The center opened on Aug. 15, 2016. Ashleigh "Bing" Bingham serves as the director of the center.

“I came on board in October 2019 and really hit the ground running,” Bingham said. “That November we hosted our first ever Transgender Day of Remembrance with trans activist, veteran, and lawyer Jordan Blisk.

“Safe Zone trainings are back in the form of our Virtual Safe Zone program,” Bingham continued. “The Resource Center has become home to a lending closet for trans and gender nonconforming students, and we’ve added a number of annual programs to our calendar, such as Celebrate Bisexuality Day, Veterans Day, and Trans Day of Visibility.”

Bingham has also been pleased with the progress and shift toward a more LGBTQ+ inclusive culture within the Virginia Tech community.

“It’s been absolutely amazing joining the Hokie Nation,” Bingham said. “I’m thrilled to work at an institution that support initiatives aimed at making Virginia Tech a supportive and affirming place for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Since my appointment, Virginia Tech has included chosen names and pronouns in our banner system, and thanks to the work of the LGBTQ+ Working Group, we have added all-gender restrooms to several buildings on campus, including Burruss Hall.”

For more information on the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, click here.

— Written by Lee Lovelace

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