December Edition

 In this Edition...

  • A Good Lead is Everything: Happy New Year!
  • Special Recognition: Matthew Hernandez, Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals and Jody Randall, Texas Pride Impact Funds
  • Student Spotlight: Maddie Gunnels
  • Affinity Group Updates
  • Peer Education, Sessions and More
  • Looking Ahead: Programs and Resources
  • The Bulletin Board
  • Support Our Progress

A Good Lead is Everything

Special Recognition

Featured Article

Student Spotlight

Maddie Gunnels (she/they)
Undergraduate Student - English 
Pflugerville, TX
What excites you the most about your involvement with the LGBTQIA community at Texas Tech?

What really excites me most about being involved in the LGBTQIA community here at Tech is the ability to meet with different individuals and to have the ability to learn their stories as a member of the community. Being an English major, I think that the best stories we get to experience in life are the ones that we get to hear about each other. Being able to experience the stories of the members of the community here at Tech really means a lot to me personally because it’s just a whole new level of trust between you and that individual that you do not really get to experience outside of the community setting.
From your perspective, has the LGBTQIA presence at the university evolved over time? How important is that to you?
I think the LGBTQIA presence has definitely evolved! Aside from the sense of outreach that I do see from students in the community in the free speech area or even in my classrooms, there is an overall more welcoming air surrounding the presence of the community. When I first came to Tech and when I had my first few encounters with the community, (since I was definitely questioning my sexuality once I had the freedom to do so thanks to a college environment) there was a bit of a secretive, even stigmatized, air surrounding the community. Granted, it could have been because of the college location and the overwhelming heterosexual demographic that passes through Tech’s campus, but the feeling was still there regardless.
Now, as I reflect on my time in the community on campus up to this date, that previously mentioned “stigmatized air” surrounding the community presence on campus has diminished quite a bit. This is not only because I can see more involvement in the matters surrounding the community from my fellow students, but my professors as well. This whole issue of presence is important to me because it gives me a sense of inclusion in my college environment that I thought I was going to be blocked from experiencing fully due to my LGBTQIA identity.
What has been your biggest accomplishment this past Fall?
Aside from managing the pressure from paternal forces, working two part-time jobs at an efficient level, and managing a healthy relationship with my partner, I think my biggest accomplishment this past Fall would be me earning President’s List in the middle of a global pandemic, online classes, and the stress surrounding our global climate as of late. To be quite honest, earning all A’s was a real surprise, but I am proud of myself for doing so.
Did you have a favorite class this semester? If so, what did you like about it?
The class that I have deemed as “my favorite” for this semester would have to be my Women’s & Gender Studies class called Sexuality and Queer Feminism. What I liked about it was mainly the instructor’s approach to feminism through the materials she recommended. The idea of feminism that was presented to me in the class was one that was inclusive and, sometimes, unforgiving of actions that we should pay more attention to in regard to how they affect others. Aside from the subject material, the class overall was just fun. We got to watch some interesting videos and answer some pretty soul-searching questions at the end of the week in our reflection journals. I, personally, learned more about feminism than I thought I ever would. I definitely recommend taking it if you want to learn more about this unique approach to feminism or just need a class for a requirement, you will not be disappointed!
It's the end of 2020! What are some goals you have for the new year and semester?
I have a few goals that for the new year and semester. My first, and primary, goal is to successfully apply and be accepted to one of the many graduate school programs that I have chosen for my educational future. My next goal is to maintain my relationship with my partner since she told me to put the educational goals first. My third and final goal is to simply graduate from my undergrad, or at least fight off the nervous butterflies surrounding the idea! I am really looking forward to what next year holds in store for me, and I am genuinely excited to see how the world will act once this new year does come around.

Affinity Group Updates

In this Section:

  • TTAA Pride Network: Alumni Feature: Josh King
  • TTAA Pride Network: Membership Meeting, January 11
  • LGBTQIA Faculty, Staff, & Graduate Student Association, January 20
  • Other Announcements: FAQTS and QTSOC

Alumni Feature

Josh King, M.B.A. (he/him)

Master of Business Administration - 2007
Southern Methodist University

Bachelor of Arts in Advertising - 2003
Texas Tech University
What did you study at Texas Tech University?

I studied at the College of Media & Communication, and the professors were excellent. They were caring, involved, funny, inspiring, and taught in a practical style that made it easy and enjoyable to learn.
Why did you choose Texas Tech University?

I did not choose Texas Tech... I started out at TCU. Unfortunately, I had a “challenging experience” living with my roommate my first year, and I did not have the self-confidence (for a variety of reasons) to remove myself from that toxic situation. My grades suffered and I became essentially ineligible to participate in some of the activities I wanted to – so I left TCU after my freshman year with no prospects defined for my future.

After some thought, I realized I was familiar with Texas Tech from visiting for competitions in high school… and some of my fellow summer lifeguard friends also were students there.
So I went on a campus tour and the tour guide made me laugh so hard I walked down to the admissions office that very day and applied, and was accepted on the spot.

Texas Tech was my life boat. It was my second chance. It was never what I wanted, but was everything I needed.

I found my love of school again. I became an officer in my fraternity: Delta Tau Delta. I worked for The Daily Toreador in Advertisement Sales. And I worked summers as a lifeguard back home.

Life was pretty good, and I will never forget the new path Texas Tech allowed me to take.
What has been the most impactful experience you have had since graduating?

When I lived in Los Angeles I had the opportunity to volunteer for the Texas Tech Admissions team and represent the university at high school college fairs.

I have always worked in corporate sales so I thought this volunteer opportunity would fit nicely with my skillset, and I was actually pretty successful.

In fact, Texas Tech hired someone to represent the West Coast due to the number of applications I was able to ramp up.

I was happy to give back, and have been surprised at how Texas Tech has surprisingly worked its way back into my life over the years… I suppose our paths will now always be entwined, and I am perfectly fine with that.
If you could tell yourself one thing when you were a student at Tech what would you tell yourself?

Read books like “The Secret” and “The Richest Man in Babylon”… learn who you are, and use your superpowers for good as early as you are able.

Mostly, I would reiterate things my Delta Tau Delta fraternity leaders at Texas Tech taught me:
  • You will hear a lot more no’s than yes’s in life.  
  • Sometimes you have to work twice as hard and be twice as good… and it is not fair, but it is just what you have to do.
  • But most importantly – as life passes – this piece of wisdom becomes clearer: with time and dedication, everything just seems to work out.
How do you advocate for the community now that you are no longer a student at Texas Tech?

I believe the community has a lot of big names advocating for it such as Harry Styles, Stephen Colbert, Prince William, etc., but I have always believed what’s done at a micro level (or local level) is the most important.

My goal with people is to never build walls in ways in which I am different (because all people are unique, to some degree), but to build bridges where there’s common ground.

If I have – as an individual – opened the heart and mind of just a few people in my lifetime to more kindness and compassion, than my life has been worth something.  
What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?

I am passionate about home renovations… I am very skilled at taking something undesirable… seeing the true potential… and making it spectacular.

I also enjoy travel. I have lived around the world, and have been to nearly every state.

My favorite places are: the Alps, England, Alaska, Hawaii and New York City.

But please send me a note if you believe there’s somewhere new and exciting I should also check out – I am always open to a spectacular vacation!!
RSVP for Pride Network Meeting
RSVP for FSGSA Virtual Social
First-year and Queer/Trans Space (FAQTS) and Queer/Trans Students of Color (QTSOC) will return in January, with more conversations and opportunities to connect! If you are interested in joining these programs, reach out to administrator Stephen Chao.

Peer Education, Sessions and More!

In this Section:

  • IGNITE! Scheduled Sessions and Visits
  • IGNITE! Allyship is not an Identity; It's a Practice! February 3
  • Spring Course Opportunity: Introduction to World Cinema: Gendered Bodies (17 of 105 seats remain as of 1/1/21)
  • Spring Course Opportunity: Introduction to Women's & Gender Studies: Sexuality & Queer Feminisms (2 of 45 seats remain as of 1/1/21)

Visit the IGNITE! web page for information about future scheduled sessions and visits to classrooms, departments, and university-affiliated student organizations. Questions and/or concerns regarding the IGNITE program can be directed to Matt Hernandez (he/him), Graduate Assistant for Peer Education.
Registration is open for Spring 2021 IGNITE! sessions. Join the peer education team in February for our first session of the year: Allyship is not an Identity; It's a Practice! on February 3. Registration is free and sessions are delivered through Zoom.
Register for IGNITE! Allyship Session

Looking Ahead: Programming and Resources

In this Section:
  • January Student Union Building Hours
  • Big 12 LGBTQIA & Allies Summit
  • Tech Gender & Sexuality Association Re-Launch: January 27
  • Undergraduate Scholarship Opportunities: Deadline February 12
  • Safe Haven and the Trans/Non-Binary Support Group
  • Queer Reads

February 26-27, 2021 | Virtual

The Summit brings together participants to network with other leaders and community organizers, engage with social justice advocates through educational programming, and learn from trailblazing professionals for LGBTQIA equality on the national stage.

This year has been filled with challenges, notably racial injustice and transphobia, and a health crisis that has disproportionately impacted some of the most vulnerable people in society. The LGBTQIA community, our allies, and others with diverse experiences and identities have shown our capacity to demonstrate flexibility, perseverance, and unity. We have shown our ability to bend and, at times, change directions to continue moving forward. While these characteristics are not novel to this time and place, they can produce something beautiful and unique like the rainbow beams produced when light refracts through a prism. Through the sharing of our stories, we strengthen our communities and provide ways for others to see and know us better. The Summit this year will provide us a medium to reflect, refract, and act.

Submit an Educational Session Proposals
Register by January 17 for the Early Rate

Plenary Guests

Jack Halberstam, Ph.D.
Dr. Halberstam is a Professor of English and Gender Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of several books, including Gaga FeminismThe Queer Art of Failure and Female Masculinity. In October 2020, he published Wild Things

Diana Tourjée

Ms. Tourjée is a journalist and freelance writer in New York City. As a cultural critic, her work has been featured in Time MagazineVICE MagazineV MagazineOUTBuzzfeed, and The Huffington Post. Ms. Tourjée received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism in 2018.

Safe Haven and the Trans/Non-Binary Support Group

The Student Counseling Center offers two LGBTQIA support groups this semester: Safe Haven and the Trans/Non-Binary Support Group. Led by Dr. Amanda Wheeler, both groups meet weekly and provide community support both in and outside the group. 

Safe Haven provides a safe environment to explore concerns related to sexual and/or gender identity. Topics of discussion may include struggles with identity, acceptance, or general relationship concerns. Safe Haven meets on Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m.
The Trans/Non-Binary Support Group is open to any student wanting to discuss and explore gender identity concerns. It is suitable for any student that is questioning or firm in their identity as being gender non-conforming. The Trans/Non-Binary Support Group meets on Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m.
Contact Dr. Amanda Wheeler if you are interested in joining either group!
Queer Reads
Queer Reads is a space for the Texas Tech community to explore texts and topics related to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) community. Students, faculty, and staff are all invited to participate in our monthly reflection meetings! This semester, we are reading Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele.
If you are interested in Queer Reads, it’s not too late to join! Contact Office administrator Stephen Chao for more information.

The Bulletin Board

Want to list your research on an LGBTQIA-related or inclusion matter in e-Cheers
Masculinity and Sexual Satisfaction: Investigating Top, Bottom, and Vers Labels
This study looks to better understand the dynamics of the sexual experiences of queer men who use top, bottom, and verse labels. Please consider participating in this short (15-20 minute) survey. You could win a $25 gift card for participating!

Relationship Satisfaction and Communication Among LGBTQ+ Individuals
This survey is anonymous and looks to ask questions about people's relationship experiences.
  • Click to Participate
  • University Affiliation and IRB Review: Texas Tech University, IRB # 2020-725
LatinX LGBTQ Attitudes and Health
The study aims to understand how gendered messages from parents impacts Latin LGBTQ individuals and health outcomes.
Polyamory and Identity
We are currently recruiting participants for an online study about polyamory and identity. Participation entails completing a brief 30-45 minute survey, answering questions related to demographics, identity, and attitudes, and reading short statements. We are looking for polyamorous adults (18+). Participants will be entered in a drawing to win one of thirty $10 Amazon gift cards. Responses will be completely confidential. 
  • Click to Participate
  • University Affiliation and IRB Review: Texas Tech University, IRB # 2020-436
2GETHER USA – A National Online Male Couples Project
2GETHER USA is an online relationship education program and research study designed to help male couples navigate the complexities of same-gender loving, queer, bi, and gay men’s health and the health of their relationships. 2GETHER USA looks to provide couples with relationship tools and sexual education to help them strengthen their relationship in the years to come.
Exploring Mental Health Risk Factors for Transgender Young Adults
is recruiting participants for a study examining transgender mental health. Anyone ages 18-29 who identifies with a gender identity different from their sex assigned at birth is eligible to participate in the study, which is approved by UMD’s Institutional Review Board for research with human subjects. Participation involves completing a 20-minute confidential online survey comprised of questions covering experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic, discrimination, gender dysphoria, and general psychological distress, among other topics. Participants will receive an entry into a raffle for one of three $50 Amazon gift cards for their time.
  • Click to Participate
  • University Affiliation and IRB Review: University of Maryland at College Park, IRB # 1590281
Exploring the College Choice Process for Openly Gay Men
Eligible participants are those who are freshman or sophomore students who identify as cis-gender male, and who identified as gay at the time of admission to a college or university. Participation will take approximately 1 to 2 hours and will take place at a time that is convenient for the participant. In addition to their participation in a 1 to 2 hour recorded Zoom interview, the investigators would like participants to participate in an activity called member checking after the initial data analysis is complete. Member checking involves reviewing the interview transcript to ensure its accuracy and will involve no more than one additional hour. Participation in this research is voluntary. Participants will be compensated with a $25.00 gift card from 
  • Click to Participate
  • University Affiliation and IRB Review: Colorado State University, IRB # 19-9690H
Owning Our Power
This study seeks to understand trans and/or nonbinary students' perspectives on and experiences of campus sexual assault. We are currently recruiting for a study asking trans/nonbinary undergraduates to share their experiences with or perspectives on campus sexual assault. We plan to use this information to create the first intervention designed to reduce risk of sexual assault for these students. Students can choose to participate in an online focus group ($20 compensation), and those who have experienced unwanted sexual contact since enrolling in college can also choose to participate in an online survey ($25 compensation). Our study is designed for people who identify as trans/nonbinary/gender-diverse, are 18-25 years old, and are current undergraduates in the US. There is very little research regarding trans experiences of sexual violence in college, and all interventions currently available are for cisgender women. We hope to change the narrative around campus sexual assault and make college campuses safer for trans/nonbinary students. We are hoping that you would be willing to participate and share the information for our study with your networks. 
  • Click to Participate
  • University Affiliation and IRB Review: University of Michigan, IRB # HUM00168758
Gender and Attachment in LGBTQ Relationships
Participation includes completing an online survey that will take 15-45 minutes to complete. To participate in the study, you must have had at least one same-sex romantic relationship and/or identify as transgender. Participants must be 18 or older and participation will be completely confidential without the need to provide your name. Some questions may be sensitive in nature, so keep in mind that you can choose to discontinue at any time.
Queer Mental Health Empowerment: Examining Well-being of LGBTQ+ Individuals
We are researchers at University of California Irvine who are interested in enhancing mental health among LGBTQ+ individuals. We are currently conducting an online survey study (20-30 minutes) examining the well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals. Participation in this study is completely voluntary. If you identify as LGBTQ+ and are interested in participating, please consider clicking the following link for a detailed study information sheet and the study survey. Upon finishing reading the study information, you will be able to participate in the study survey. Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are especially welcome to participate! You will be entered into a raffle winning one of our 60 Amazon gift cards [ranging from $5 to $ 100] for your participation!
  • Click to Participate
  • University Affiliation and IRB Review: University of California, Irvine, IRB # 2019-5505
Owning Our Power
The goal of this study is to understand what sexual violence against transgender and nonbinary college undergraduates looks like. Most of the research on sexual assault against college students has been about cisgender women. Trans and nonbinary students have their own stories and unique challenges.Sexual assault prevention has focused on cisgender women, but trans/nonbinary students need their own solutions that addresses the types of assaults they experience. This study will be used to develop the first intervention designed specifically to prevent sexual assault against trans/nonbinary students. The information you provide about your perspectives and/or experiences is valuable and will be used to: Understand what unwanted sexual experiences and sexual assault look like for trans and nonbinary undergraduates Create the first intervention designed to prevent unwanted sexual experiences and sexual assault for trans and nonbinary undergraduates Advocate for better policies to support trans and nonbinary students.
  • Click to Participate
  • University Affiliation and IRB Review: University of Michigan, IRB # HUM00159234

Support Our Progress!

Supporting our progress with a contribution to our LGBTQIA Fund for Excellence can be done online!

You can also support our progress by meeting a need identified by the Office!

The Office of LGBTQIA Education & Engagement is part of

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Copyright © 2021 Office of LGBTQIA, Texas Tech University, All rights reserved.

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