About Our Organization

Mission Statement
Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association’s mission is to connect, support and empower community for LGBT+* students and allies across veterinary education.
*LGBT + will be used as an inclusive acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer,Questioning, Asexual and others who self-identify on the sexual orientation and/or gender expression continuums.

Vision Statement
Broad Spectrum desires greater support and a sense of community for all LGBT+ students and allies throughout veterinary medical education. We actively strive to counter episodes of bigotry and marginalization with positive messages of diversity and inclusion. We have healthy, supportive and encouraging relationships with pre-veterinary, veterinary and graduate students, faculty, staff and administrators. We are known for advocating for the respect and equality of seen and unseen LGBT+ members in the academic veterinary community and beyond. We contribute to the development of safe and welcoming veterinary school environments for pre- and current veterinary students. Broad Spectrum makes veterinary schools more inclusive for all students, especially LGBT+ students. We accomplish this by starting important and courageous conversations about LGBT+ inclusion, in addition to maintaining much needed support for LGBT+ students in veterinary medicine.

Our History

We were founded in 2011 at the SAVMA Symposium hosted by UC Davis. The name 'Broad Spectrum' came out of a calculated attempt to be as inclusive as possible to any student who falls anywhere on the spectra of sexuality, sex, or gender. We welcome all students no matter their sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression. And yes, allies, this means we welcome you, too!

Our Links

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Successful Events: Schools Celebrating National Coming Out Day!

Tuskegee University

"Tuskegee School of Vet med LGVMA chapter sold cupcakes as a yummy fundraiser for our chapter and gave out nifty rainbow ribbons to our classmates that wanted to show their support as well as talking to the various classes about what the day actually meant. Some of the ribbons had tags attached with quotes like "love is love", "No H8", and some had a space where u could sport the number of months/years "out and proud". We always have tremendous support from our TUSVM family. We're very proud!!!!"
Audrey Weaver, Class of 2013

Photo from Baking Bites Blog

From http://onekissworldwide.com/community/?tag=noh8

Purdue University 
"Rain moved Purdue’s National Coming Out Day Celebration indoors but didn’t dampen the spirit. The afternoon was celebrated with booths representing academic units, Purdue organizations, and community organizations. University and community leaders, including the Mayor of West Lafayette, spoke. The keynote speaker for the evening, Katherine Miller, spoke about her experiences as a cadet at West Point under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and her subsequent resignation."
Dr. Sandra Amass, Associate Dean for Engagement

 "Purdue Veterinary Medicine Booth at Purdue's National Coming Out Day Celebration!" Dr. Amass
"It was a great day with outstanding speakers!" Dr. Amass
Purdue's NCOD Poster
Western University of Health Sciences
Lambda and Friends distributed these new amazing shirts designed by Cynthia Ting.  We took our annual photo at noon on the lawn.  We also celebrated by going out for food and drinks!  Fun was had.
New shirts! Front.  Photo: S. Fang

Back Photo: S. Fang

Six of us representing four different colleges.  Photo: S.P
Penn's LGBTQ Center hosted the "You Are Loved Project," an event for suicide prevention.  A suicide prevention presentation was followed by food and and hot cocoa.  All were invited to mingle.   Participants were encouraged to write positive messages in chalk across campus. The event raised awareness of the hurtful rhetoric used against those of the LGBTQ community, promoted tolerance, as well as an opportunity for students to get to know one another.
From https://www.facebook.com/PennLGBTC


Did your school celebrate National Coming Out Day?  Send us an email about it with photos if you have any, and we'll update this post!  broadspectrumoutreach [at] gmail [dot] com.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Broad Spectrum is very excited to start a recurring feature on our blog:  Interviews!

We are looking for veterinarians who are interested in being interviewed.  The interview would be conducted via email or phone, whichever is more convenient, and would focus on questions that pre-veterinary and veterinary students may have, especially with regards to being out in academia, the job interview process, and the workplace.  We believe this project will be important, not only as a resource to students, but as a means to strengthen a sense of visibility and community within the veterinary field.
If you are interested in participating or if you have questions you’d like to see answered, please email us at broadspectrumoutreach@gmail.com

To kick start this project, our current co-chairs decided to interview each other.  Please note that this will NOT be representative of the interviews we will conduct with veterinarians and other professionals!

And with that, we present:
A Long and Extraordinarily (Perhaps Regrettably) Candid Interview with:

Nikki (Ashley Nicole) Wright, University of Pennsylvania, class of 2014. (Broad Spectrum Intern/Resident Chair) 

Sonia Fang, Western University of Health Sciences, class of 2013 (Broad Spectrum Outreach Co-Chair)

Audrey Weaver, Tuskegee University, class of 2013 (Broad Spectrum Secretary)

William (Liam) Gilles, University of Wisconsin, class of 2013 (Broad Spectrum Outreach Co-Chair)

How it began:

Liam:  did we want to interview ONE OF US?

Sonia: oh shoot we are GREAT RESOURCES- i forgot!! LET US INTERVIEW EACH OTHER!

Liam: [we could] "interview" all of us via a chat and then edit it down to the BEST PARTS

Sonia: hahah you mean it'll be me typing LOL the entire time. SURE.

Nikki: sounds great - 'welcome to broad spectrum .. this is who we are.. we're just like you'

Liam: well, we'll edit out the "lols.” part of this whole thing is to be really inclusive, so we need to show people we're friendly/funny/and cooler than we really are

Audrey: good idea.

Liam: Who are we? Ready GO

Nikki: Nikki (Ashley Nicole) Wright, University of Pennsylvania, class of 2014, Wellesley College BA in Biology 2008, from Houston, TX; New Orleans, LA; Miami, FL; Boston, MA

Sonia: Sonia Fang.  Pomona College 2008.  Western University of Health Sciences, Class of 2013.   From: San Marino, CA. Interests.  HOLD ON.

Liam: Undergrad was a BA in Linguistics [at UW-Milwaukee, 2007], with a minor in Portuguese and an Asian Studies certificate; I've been known to break out the Portuguese and Mandarin if the mood strikes me.

Audrey: Audrey Weaver class of 2013 graduated from Virginia State University with a BS in animal science/pre-vet med.

Sonia: LIAM, YOU SPEAK MANDARIN AND YOU DIDN"T TELL ME THIS? The things you learn. *NBC shooting star*  Ok my interests: Identity, Race, Intersectionality (of multiple identities), Representation, The personal being political, Feminism, Music.  So.  that takes care of  the BUSINESS-y side of it. Do we want to have a goofy [interview] too? HOGWARTS HOUSE. I think I'd be in Hufflepuff. If we don't want to do that I DO NOT CARE I AM STILL IN HUFFLEPUFF.

Liam: I also am a legit gay cowboy and play ice hockey.

Sonia: maybe we can edit it and pretend I said Ravenclaw

Audrey: I like cupcakes

Nikki: hell yes! Cupcakes. I'd also like to include: running, yoga, cooking/baking, poetry, music, gardening, and good beer :)

Liam: GOOD BEER! And can I throw in “watching clothing hang on Idris Elba"?

Back to business.  So, what do you want to do, career-wise, after vet school?

Nikki: global public health, mixed animal practice, sustainable food production

Sonia: small animal medicine, maybe lab animal medicine

Liam: equine practice with a focus on sport horse medicine and eventually wind up … teaching, or working on the policy/government side of vet med

Audrey: Hoping to get into small animal emergency medicine, also into holistic/homeopathic medicine. Not sure how I'll work that but I'll work it!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Today's the day!  Wear your pro-gay apparel if you can.

From the Founders (Dr. Robert Eichberg and Jean O'Leary) themselves:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Successful Events: WesternU National Coming Out Day

Happy October/LGBT History Month!

Photo from http://bungalow-love.blogspot.com/2011/08/fall-decorating.html

As some of you might know, October 11 (next Tuesday) is National Coming Out Day, an internationally-observed holiday that was co-founded in the United States in 1988 by Dr. Robert Eichberg and Jean O'Leary.

National Coming Out Day Logo, Keith Haring

Before we talk about what Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) has been doing to celebrate National Coming Out Day, it's important we share a little about the history behind the event and its founders because it is all too easy to be uneducated about LGBT history.  It isn't hard to understand why:  LGBT history is not discussed in schools (yet!) and many people (especially newer generations) are unaware of the pioneering efforts that have brought us to where we are today.


Dr. Eichberg was a psychologist and author of Coming Out: an Act of Love.  An ardent leader in the gay rights movement, he raised money for AIDS patients and founded two important organizations.  The first was a community project/workshop started in 1978 called the Experience to help LGBT people come out.  The second was the Municipal Elections Committee of Los Angeles (MECLA), the first political action committee of its kind with a dedicated focus to gays and lesbians.  Before he passed away, he worked to promote an organization that could address the needs of elderly LGBT people, a project which unfortunately did not come to fruition. 

Co-Founder Jean O'Leary 
via http://direland.typepad.com/direland/2005/06/jean_oleary_194.html

Ms. O'Leary was a lesbian and feminist activist who was very involved in Democratic political scene.  She served as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee's Gay and Lesbian Caucus and organized the first White House meeting of gay and lesbian leaders in 1977.  She also served as co-executive director of the organization that would become the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.  She is credited with providing women with a voice in the initially male-dominated movement for equal rights, with feminist Gloria Steinem stating that Ms. O'Leary "helped the women's movement to recognize the universal cost of homophobia, and the gay movement to see that marginalizing the voices of lesbians would only diminish its power."

 From http://sitemaker.umich.edu/lesbian.history/the_role_of_lesbians_in_the_1979_and_1987_marches_

Dr. Eichberg and Ms. O'Leary chose October 11th as homage to the anniversary of the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights which had happened the year before in 1987.  The march, in which 200,000 members of the LGBT and allied communities participated, called on the Reagan administration for an end to discrimination against LGBT Americans and to provide federal funding for AIDS research. 

From http://www.theseattlelesbian.com/politics/2010/10/10/national-coming-out-day-october-11-2010.html

Dr. Eichberg and Ms. O'Leary envisioned National Coming Out Day to encourage gay men and women to live openly as a means to dispel the many malicious stereotypes used against members of the queer community, as well as put a face and story to the gay rights movement.  In his 1993 interview with The Associated Press, Dr. Eichberg stated: 
"Most people think they don't know anyone gay or lesbian, and in fact everybody does. It is imperative that we come out and let people know who we are and disabuse them of their fears and stereotypes."
At WesternU, our group Lambda and Friends serves as the LGBT and Allied group for students, faculty, and staff of all our health science colleges (including veterinary medicine, osteopathic medicine, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, podiatry, dentistry, physical therapy, physician assistant, amongst others).

Lambda's Central Logo Designed by Graphic Artist Clement Ng, Banner Logo Designed by Noah Dietterich
For the last six years, our organization has celebrated National Coming Out Day by providing free t-shirts (funded by generous individual donations, our club funds, and the Student Government Association) that have an LGBT-friendly message.  In the past, we distributed "Gay?  Fine By Me" shirts, though in recent years we've moved towards having a commissioned unique design by queer-friendly artists such as Deanna Moore (2009 Design) and Cynthia Ting (2010 and 2011 Design.  Pictures from this year will be posted soon!).

Flier Photo, Sonia Fang; Top Left: Design by Cynthia Ting, Right: Design by Deanna Moore

We coordinate the event so that people can wear the shirts on National Coming Out Day (or the closest weekday), and encourage people to participate in a group photo.  We have a fierce commitment to making the shirts free because we want everyone, but particularly the LGBT community at our school, to know that the LGBT community is supported and accepted by many of their peers, faculty, staff, and higher administration, and to know that this support is given, not something they have to pay for (though of course donations are welcome).  

Photo from 2009 Event, Jennifer Reed Swingle

Photo from Last Year's Event, Sonia Fang

If your group is looking for something to do in the beginning of the school year, this is definitely something worth looking into because it can bring the community together early in the year, and hey-free shirts and tolerance!  What's not to love?  And while it doesn't address the veterinary community specifically, veterinary students can contribute to school-wide efforts to foster dialogue and support of the LGBT community through an event such as this one.  

Does your veterinary/school group participate in National Coming Out Day?  Send us your stories and photos so we can highlight it!  Email: broadspectrumoutreach@gmail.com.