As the LGBTQ+ Program Coordinator with the Gender + Equality Center (GEC) at the University of Oklahoma and an OU doctoral candidate, Quan Phan works around the clock to find unique ways to serve the LGBTQ+ students, faculty, staff, and community of OU. Quan is a long-term supporter of GEC. Before taking on his current position, he worked as GEC's undergraduate graphic design intern and a peer educator in the Gender-based Violence Prevention program. Through his collaboration with GEC, Quan learned more about himself and his identity, as well as his passion for social justice and advocacy.
“College is a place where you get to explore your identity and be your true self. We have a community here that will cheer you on, catch you when you fall, and encourage you to take on new adventures in life. Step out of your comfort zone and be a part of our community.”
Quan: I get to put on educational and community-building events as well as advise the LGBTQ+ Program Advisory Board, LGBTQ+ Student Alliance, and the LGBTQ+ Mentorship Program. Each student group serves a unique purpose that fosters queer students' visibility and success on campus.
Quan: Many students still don’t know about GEC. The mission of GEC is to cultivate an affirming, educational, and diverse community by focusing on LGBTQ+ inclusion, interpersonal violence prevention, and advocacy for victims of gender-based violence. Our OU office offers a variety of programs that students can be involved with, from LGBTQ+ programs to gender-based violence prevention. We are also the home of OU Advocates, the 24/7 helpline for victims of gender-based violence.
Quan: There are many events hosted throughout the year for students to build community and find friends on campus. Our LGBTQ+ Mentorship Program also connects incoming students to upperclassmen so they can have more guidance and build a support network with other queer students.
Quan: Like many other marginalized groups, there are still many barriers that LGBTQ+ students face. The University and GEC continuously grow and adapt to the needs of students. This year, we are celebrating the positive progress powered by past generations of OU students! It’s the 50th anniversary of OU’s Gay Activist Alliance, now known as the LGBTQ+ Student Alliance. Progress doesn't come easily, and we are celebrating every step of the way!
Quan: Attending our events or trainings, stopping by our office, or applying to hold different leadership positions within our office!
Quan: My favorite event is called Proudly Gleaming. Since 2003, the GEC has hosted a formal dance known as the Pink and Black Ball in the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom as a fundraiser. From 2003 to 2009, all proceeds from the event went toward breast health because the office, known then as the Women’s Outreach Center, received grants for breast cancer awareness programming. After 2009, the GEC used the event as a fundraiser for their programs. Since the event was initially meant for breast cancer awareness but wasn’t tied to GEC’s office or mission, the GEC decided to transition its cause in Fall 2021. Proudly Gleaming is now an annual fundraising event that raises money for the GEC. As an official part of OU’s Homecoming, this event creates a specific, intentional space to uplift and support LGBTQ+ students, faculty, staff, and alumni as a recognized part of the OU family.