By Savitre “Rapture” Schaefferkoetter, Staff Writer
Part two of the “Out and Greek” webinar series was hosted by members of the National Asian Pacific Islander American (“APIA”) Panhellenic Association (NAPA) on Oct. 28, at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The live link was accessible through a post on NAPA’s Facebook page, as well as a Google+ event invitation.
The moderators of the webinar were Toubee Yang (Lambda Phi Epsilon) and Vigor Lam (Pi Delta Psi), along with fellow panelists Mai Nguyen (Alpha Phi Gamma), Rob Mady (Pi Alpha Phi) and Tricia Prettypaul (Sigma Sigma Rho). The five panelists took turns briefly giving their ethnic background information, their sexual orientations, and current occupations and locations. They were a diverse representation of APIA backgrounds and lived all across the United States.
Each panelist covered the challenges they faced as a lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer (LGBTQ) individual while they were active members, including their experiences of navigating through Greek life as their identities and their bonds with fellow LGBTQ members of their own organizations. They also covered the intersectionality of this identity facet with other identities they had: being Greek and APIA, how inclusive spaces could be made available in collegiate communities, and if they were ever accused of being bad representatives or barred from leadership within their respective organizations. They also offered their parting words of inspiration at the end of the hour-long webinar.
Overall, these panelists had a very positive but realistic view on their statuses, about progress that was taking place for LGBTQs, and the future that stands before them. They were all fortunate to be part of understanding chapters, even receiving support nationally from other chapters or their national/international board. Having been raised in culturally conservative backgrounds, each member expressed a subconscious fear that they did not want to make waves by revealing their identities, and chose to ‘come out of the closet’ in a cognizant manner. Some did face vulgar terminology used casually by their heterosexual brothers or sisters, but would overcome these sticky situations with tolerance and understanding. They are all still proud alumni of their organizations and a few of the panelists have careers now related to Greek student life.
Audience members had the options of previously submitting questions privately to the panelists and submitting them through a live question box during the webinar. The panel did a wonderful job addressing the questions, even extending their answers to cover broader topics of interest. They truly championed themselves as pioneers of the cause, who are looking forward to doing more good work due to the positive response to the #OutandGreek campaign. The fact that a second part of this webinar was continued from last year was a good sign that the public was interested in what they had to say and the avenues of communication were open.
Toubee Yang welcomes anyone to contact him through Facebook (“Toubee Everclear”) or at firstname.lastname@example.org with any further questions or comments.
For part one of the webinar series featuring our brother and DePaul University alumnus, Phillipe Cunningham, watch the video below.
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