On May 22 at the Ent Center for the Arts, the CU Faculty Council hosted The Queer Futures in Higher Education in the Rocky Mountain West Symposium in person for the first time since 2017.
This one-day professional development, networking, and vision building symposium featured over ten presentations facilitated by students, faculty, and staff from the four CU campuses. The conference featured a wide range of workshops from “‘Unpacking the Alphabet’: Identities, Key terms, and Frameworks in Evolving LGBTQ+ Life,” “Eating Disorders in Transgender Youth,” and “Queering as a Verb.”
The Queer Futures Symposium created a space to acknowledge that LGBTQ+ identified people and their allies face daunting challenges in the classroom, in their communities, and in their areas of work, advocacy, and research. The conference empowered participants with current best-practices to support LGBTQ+ life in the CU system and showcase CU system’s contributions to art, science, social science, business, education, medicine, performance, athletics, and innovation from its LGBTQ+ and allied stakeholders.
George Wu Bayuga, a UCCS professor an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and member of CU Faculty Council, organized the event.
“At the heart of this conference was the emphasis on building a queer inclusive, supportive and energized future,” Bayuga said. “Thinking futuristically means both considering the barriers that we face today, and envisioning possibilities for growth and development irrespective of the possibilities of success.”
“I am so happy that the conference was able to bring together so many members of the CU system with a shared vision of LGBTQIA+ inclusion and support for our CU community,” he continued. “Our presenters gave key insights to thinking about the unique kinds of care and transformation needed moving forward. I witnessed great networking connections unfold. Making change requires a coalition effort and the friendships made here will be the bedrock of new pedagogy, policies and possibilities.”
Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at UCCS Rama Hanna opened the symposium with UCCS’s Letters, Arts, and Sciences Dean Lynn Vidler.
Vice Chancellor Hanna shared after the event, “I am grateful to Dr. George Bayuga and the CU Faculty Council for creating authentic and intentional spaces for queer voices and fostering allyship. It is educational opportunities like this symposium that uplift and empower representation and authentic change across our communities.”