Four LGBTQ+ alums shared several moments of laughter as they spoke about their experiences as LGBTQ+ people at Haverford and the challenges that presented. For instance, Ann Kreiger ’08 recalled how she used to dress a certain way and wear baggy clothes in order to fit the stereotype of gay women. That is, until she realized that was being foolish and she could dress anyway she pleased without compromising her identity.
Besides Kreiger, alums Julien Colvin ’05, Dennis Norris II ’08, and Olivia Danforth ’10 shared memories of Haverford and their experiences beyond college at the LGBTQ+ Alumni Panel organized by Laurie Merrell ’15 on April 10 as part of Pride Week events.
Krieger said a lot had changed even within her four years at Haverford. As a freshman, she didn’t think there were many gay women at college. But, she said, that by the time she graduated “droves of women” were coming out. The alumni also remarked that there is a greater presence of LGBTQ+ community among the student body now.
Drawing on her experiences working with middle and high school kids in education, Krieger spoke about the kind of bullying faced by LGBTQ+ children at school and how she is trying to be an ally to students without necessarily bringing up her own sexuality.
Relationships were also a big theme of the discussion as each alum spoke about presenting oneself and dating in the LGBTQ+ community. Some funny and positive stories were shared. Danforth, a trans woman, research scientist, public health advocate, and medical student, mentioned that she met her partner Meghan Zolnay (BMC ’10) at a party in Barclay Hall, a freshman dorm, during her first year at college. But the alums also encouraged students to not be disheartened over relationship struggles while at Haverford because there are plenty of opportunities to meet people outside college.
Other topics, such as challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community, how to be an ally, and how things have changed at Haverford over the years, also were discussed.
—By Hina Fathima ’15
Photos by Patrick Montero