What is Lavender Graduation?
Lavender Graduations are annual ceremony conducted on numerous campuses to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally students and to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the University.
The Lavender Graduation Ceremony was created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a Jewish Lesbian, who was denied the opportunity to attend the graduations of her biological children because of her sexual orientation. It was through this experience that she came to understand the pain felt by her students. Encouraged by the Dean of Students at the University of Michigan, Dr. Sanlo designed the first Lavender Graduation Ceremony in 1995. The first Lavender Graduation began at the University of Michigan in 1995, with three graduates. By 2001, there were over 45 Lavender Graduation Ceremonies at Colleges and Universities nationwide. Graduating students, including undergraduates and graduates, are invited to take part in the celebration, which occurs each year the week prior to university-wide commencement events.
What a lovely recognition that highlights today's pride and openness. My salute to you!
The significance of "Lavender"
Lavender is important to LGBTQ history. It is a combination of the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear in concentration camps and the black triangle designating lesbians as political prisoners in Nazi Germany. The LGBTQ civil rights movement took these symbols of hatred and combined them to make symbols of pride and community.
I have been invited by my beloved Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Lavender Graduation committee to serve as the keynote speaker for VCU's 2020 Lavender Graduation ceremony. The ceremony (was to be) on April 24, 2020 from 6 - 8 pm.
I will keep you posted on the re-schedule/place and the date of future events.
Let's hope for next year!