- When and where is the event?
- Who can attend?
- What does LGBTQIA+ stand for?
- What is an ally and can allies participate?
- How did an LGBTQIA+ graduation begin?
- Who coordinates the graduation ceremony?
- How can I sign up to volunteer?
For the Class of 2020
- What is the criteria for participation?
- Is there a cost to participate?
- Who can I invite?
- Do I have to choose between participating in the LGBTQIA+ graduation ceremony or commencement?
- Do I have to be an LGBTQIA+ student leader or have been significantly involved with the LGBTQIA+ community on campus in order to participate?
Q: When and where is the event?
A: The 1st Annual Graduation Ceremony for LGBTQIA+ High School, GED, Junior High & Middle School Students will be held on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 via virtual streaming starting at 3:00 p.m. Sign up to view here. The ceremony is open to the public.
Q: Who can attend?
A: The Santa Cruz County community is invited to attend and cheer on graduates during the virtual streaming graduation ceremony.
Q: What does LGBTQIA+ stand for?
A: The acronym LGBTQIA+ represents a broad array of various sexual orientations and gender identities including (but not limited to):
Q: What is an ally and can allies participate?
A: The Safe Schools Project welcomes attendance by allies to LGBTQIA+ people, in a show of support. Allies are those who take a stand when injustices occur against LGBTQA+ individuals and communities, but who are careful to honor and center the experiences of those who are themselves LGBTQIA+.
It is important to note that the term “ally” is not a self-defining term or identity. It is earned. Jamie Washington and Nancy J. Evans’ (1991) definition of an ally, one of the most comprehensive definitions in the current literature, describes an ally as:
A person who is a member of the ‘dominant’ or ‘majority’ group who works to end oppression in his or her personal and professional life through support of, and as an advocate with and for, the oppressed population” (Washington & Evans, 1991). We encourage you to read Washington and Evans’ article, “Becoming an Ally,” before doing so. In their article, Washington and Evans explore factors associated with ally development, the importance of recognizing heterosexual and cisgender privilege, motivations for becoming an ally, the practice of advocacy, important points for allies to know, and positive and negative consequences of allyship and advocacy. The PDF of the article is available here.
We welcome allies to participate in the ceremony and recognize their strong support to LGBTQIA+ students. One of the tenements of allyship is that every effort must be made to uplift oppressed and marginalized communities as much as possible. The LGBTQIA+ Graduation celebrates the achievements of LGBTQIA+ persons who have overcome enormous challenges to finish school.
Q: How did the concept of an LGBTQIA+ graduation begin?
A: The concept of an LGBTQIA+ graduation ceremony originated in 1995 with Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a Jewish lesbian who was denied the opportunity to attend her children’s college graduation from the University of Michigan because of her sexual orientation. Dr. Sanlo realized that LGBTQIA+ students of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds needed to be recognized for “not only their achievements but for surviving their college years” in campus environments that were less than supportive (Sanlo, 2000). The graduation began with a mission of helping LGBTQIA+ students feel more connected to their institution and invited to celebrate their identities.
Learn about the Santa Cruz County history of the LGBTQIA+ Graduation Ceremony honoring & celebrating high school, GED, junior high, and middle school students here.
Q: Who coordinates the LGBTQIA+ graduation ceremony?
A: The Safe Schools Project of Santa Cruz County is coordinating the graduation ceremony in collaboration with a Student Planning Committee and parents. Sponsored, in part, by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education (SCCOE).
Q: How can I sign up to volunteer?
A: We always welcome volunteers! Because the LGBTQIA+ graduation ceremony is an event that will continue for years to come, we especially encourage students to step forward and help with planning so that when it’s your turn to graduate, you will already know how this event is run!
If you are interested in volunteering, please call (831) 427-4004 or email us.
For the Class of 2020
Q: What is the criteria for participation?
A: If you are a high school, GED, junior high or middle school student who has graduated in Fall 2019 or will graduate in May 2020 and identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual, or ally you may register for LGBTQIA+ Graduation 2020. Registration is required in order to participate in the Graduation Ceremony, to receive a certificate, rainbow, bi or trans tassel, and be part of 2020 LGBTQIA+ Digital Year Book.
Q: Is there a cost to participate?
A: No. The graduation ceremony is free to participating LGBTQIA+ high school, GED, junior high and middle school graduates and attendees.
Q: Who can I invite?
A: The graduation ceremony is open to the Santa Cruz County community, including students, staff, faculty members, and the community at large. As a member of the Class of 2020, you are encouraged to invite your family, friends, and supporters to attend the ceremony as well. They can sign up here.
Q: Do I have to choose between participating in the LGBTQIA+ graduation ceremony or commencement?
A: No! You are encouraged to participate in both ceremonies. The LGBTQIA+ Graduation is held on Wednesday, June 3 at 3:00 pm, while a majority of commencement ceremonies in Santa Cruz County will be held in early June.
Q: Do I have to be an LGBTQIA+ student leader or have been significantly involved with the LGBTQIA+ community on campus in order to participate?
A: No, you do not. The LGBTQIA+ graduation ceremony celebrates all sorts of achievements by LGBTQIA+ students regardless of level of activism or involvement with the LGBTQIA+ community at their schools and/or community. We recognize that individuals all have their unique journeys, challenges, and indispensable threads in the fabric of our K-12 LGBTQIA+ community.
Special thank you to the LGBTQA Resource Center of Gallaudet University for their FAQ