by Geoff Larcom, Published May 15, 2014
YPSILANTI – T.J Jourian, a nationally known social justice activist and member of the LGBT community, will discuss the need for student inclusion during his keynote address at the Equality Leadership Colloquium, to be held at Eastern Michigan University on Friday, May 16.
Jourian, who will speak at 2:30 p.m. in the McKenny Union Ballroom, says that universities need to become more inclusive for gender non-conforming students, faculty and staff.
Jourian’s presentation, entitled, “Beyond Inclusion: Trans*Forming Higher Education for the Public Good,” extends from his experiences and perspectives as a “trans*man” at a large public university. He founded a trans fraternity in 2004, supporting local LGBT students at Michigan State University. He was also profiled in the documentary, “TransGeneration” in 2005. He is currently a doctoral student at Loyola University in Chicago and is the Co-Chair of the GLBT Issues Knowledge Community for NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators).
“I have a fly-on-the-wall perspective, because I get to blend in with the majority group and hear what they feel and say about a group that is not part of the majority.” Jourian said of his experiences. “The trans identity part is very important to me, because it reminds folks of where I’ve come from. My roots are very important to me.”
Michael A. Tew, director of the Center for the Study of Equality and Human Rights at Eastern Michigan University, the organization sponsoring the event, said that LGBT issues are still not fully addressed in education.
“T.J.’s unique perspective and experience sheds light on a subject that many still don’t understand today,” Tew said.
The Equality Leadership Colloquium is an academic conference for higher education professionals to identify, discuss, and create movement on trends and issues affecting LGBT persons. Speakers and panelists will discuss creating inclusive educational and work environments at colleges and universities.
The Center for the Study of Equality and Human Rights at EMU stimulates and disseminates academic research focused on equality and human rights for LGBT communities.
Founded in 2010 by a gift from EMU Alumnus and former regent Timothy Dyer, the Center connects research to LGBT advocacy and community action. The Center is supported by the John and Genevieve Dyer Educational Foundation and Eastern Michigan University.