The OU Gender + Equality Center will host their third annual Lavender Graduation, an event that honors graduating LGBTQ+ students, on May 7.
Quan Phan, LGBTQ+ Programs coordinator for the GEC, said Lavender Graduation is a cultural celebration for LGBTQ+ students.
“Lavender Graduation celebrates students of all races and ethnicities in order to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the university as students who survived the college experience,” Phan said in an email to the Daily. “This celebration of the culmination of a student’s undergraduate career is important to honor in the context of their identity.”
Phan said Lavender Graduation recognizes students with their chosen names and correct pronouns in order to celebrate who they are.
“Like many cultural graduation ceremonies, I think Lavender Graduation provides a uniquely affirming space for our graduates, surrounded by their loved ones who are there to affirm their identities and celebrate their achievements,” Phan said in the email. “In this space, their LGBTQ+ identity is specifically highlighted and celebrated.”
Phan said the ceremony is a chance for people to be together as they start their journeys as OU alum.
“We know COVID has been a huge obstacle for many people, and it's worse for people with marginalized identities,” Phan said in the email. “It is hard to build communities and connect with people. I want to share this space with our graduates to do so before they start their journey as OU alum.”
The Lavender Graduation will be an in-person event this year with precautions taken to keep everyone safe and to highlight this year’s graduating class, according to the website.
According to the GEC website, Rep. Mauree Turner of Oklahoma City, the first Muslim legislator in Oklahoma and the first openly non-binary person to be elected into a statewide office in the US, will be the keynote speaker at the event.
Registration for 2021 graduates to attend Lavender Graduation can be found here, and the event will take place at 12 p.m. on May 7 in the Oklahoma Memorial Union’s Beaird Lounge. Those who can’t attend in person can still opt in for an alumni pin and cord to be mailed to them.