Summer Pennell, assistant professor of English and Safe Zone director, said Lavender Graduation will be held virtually through Zoom and graduates will be mailed a rainbow cord, certificate and personal message from a self-selected campus advocate. She said there will be alumni guest speakers from the They/Them Podcast and staff will speak about each graduate from the information they submit online.
When the event is in person, Pennell said graduates enter the room by walking to a pop song, followed by a short welcome and alumni speech and graduates being introduced and given their rainbow cord. If graduates have sent in pictures of their time at Truman, Pennell said those are included in the background and a blurb is read out loud about that student’s Truman experience. Although group pictures aren’t posted without permission, she said a picture of Lavender Graduation is taken for social media and is emailed to all graduates so that privacy can be respected.
Pennell said that she hopes Lavender Graduation will translate well to an online event because it’s a smaller and less informal gathering but is vital in being a safe space for students.
“It’s important for any minority group to have their own celebrations and to celebrate with each other and to be their full selves,” Pennell said. “While we hope every LGBTQ+ graduate will attend, it may be especially poignant for those who are not out to family and friends yet.”
This will be the third year of Lavender Graduation, Pennell said, with there being ten graduates attending the past two years. She said the event will hopefully continue to grow and become an event LGBTQ+ students enjoy attending.