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

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.

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