UW News

January 14, 2010

Introducing the Q Faculty and Staff Association

Editor’s note: There are many organizations open to the UW faculty and staff. Some have been around for years and some are new. Some are structured groups with officers and committees; some are much more informal. University Week provides a space for campus groups to publish their information. UWeek began running profiles of these groups in 2009 and now continues that series.

Additional note: The word “queer” used to have a negative connotation, but over the years the gay, lesbian and transgender communities — internationally and at the UW — have largely come to embrace the word. Webster’s Dictionary currently states that while the “older, stronger pejorative use has certainly not vanished, use by some gay people and some academics as a neutral or even positive term has established itself.” In this instance, Q stands for “questioning” as well as “queer.”

This week, James Fesalbon, administrative manager for the dean of the UW School of Public Health, introduces the Q Faculty and Staff Association.

Name of organization: Q Faculty and Staff (QFSUW)

What does the organization do? Q Faculty and Staff builds and facilitates queer academic and social community for faculty and staff through education, advocacy, and networking to achieve a socially just campus in which all people are valued. This organization seeks to promote the following goals:

  • Increasing education and dialogue on issues affecting the Q community
  • Honoring the cultural diversity of Q faculty and staff
  • Supporting leadership and career advancement among Q faculty and staff
  • Advocating for issues in higher education that affect Q faculty and staff
  • Assisting in the recruitment and retention of Q faculty and staff
  • Providing opportunities for social networking, fostering the exchange of social, cultural, and political ideas.

Examples of activities supporting the mission and vision are social networking receptions, brown bag lunch discussion of topics of interest to the GLBT community like domestic partner benefits, and marching in the annual Seattle Pride Parade each June to celebrate the Stonewall Riots of 1969, often seen as the birth of the modern gay rights movement.

Who can join? Anyone who identifies as queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, two-spirit, trans, intersex, questioning, same-gender loving, and/or allies. Members will do their best to be discreet as members may be in various states of being out.

We meet from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the Month, from October to June. The location changes so that people from other parts of campus can participate. The Feb. 3 meeting will be at Magnuson Health Sciences Center F348, which is when planning for UW’s participation in the Seattle Pride Parade begins.

Recent or typical activities: We hosted a Welcome Back Reception at the UW Club as a way to network with other faculty and staff as well as introducing people to the UW Club and the services they offer. The timing of the reception coincided with National Coming Out Week Oct. 11-17, 2009. To celebrate the end of the quarter we had a potluck at the Clark Hall conference room.

We will be co-sponsoring an “Out at Work” panel discussion with the Q Center to learn about the experiences of employees who work in the Puget Sound area about being out at work. While this event is geared toward students who may consider working at the companies represented in the panel, we will have at least one UW faculty or staff member represented. The speakers/companies are still pending.

How can I get involved? Point your browser to http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/qfs to sign up for the listserv to receive announcements. Interested people can also contact Fesalbon directly at 206-221-5434, or jfesal@uw.edu.