LGBT Alumni/ae Organizing
By David White
How to Start a LGBT Alumni/ae
GALAs can help bring people back to
alumni/ae involvement and can also be
the link out of academe for lgbt students.
What is a GALA?
This link to the post collegiate world is
GALA is an acronym that stands for gay
vital to providing continuity for students
and lesbian alumni/ae and is used by
in negotiating their sexual orientation in
many, but not all lgbt alumni/ae associa
the world beyond the campus.
tions. Most of these organization started
in the mid 1980 s as an extension of the
Starting a GALA
lgbt civil rights movement. Their pur
Surprisingly, it is rather easy to start a
poses vary from social to highly political,
GALA and many were founded by only
and their structures range from formal
one or two individuals. Initially, it is
national organizations with regional
important to make contact with other lgbt
chapters to small informal groups.
graduates of your college/university.
Some suggestions for doing so include:
Some of the purposes of a GALA
WRITE a letter for publication to the edi
tor of the college/university alumni/ae
Facilitating social and professional
magazine suggesting the possibility of
forming a GALA. The letter should: (a)
clearly state the reasons for forming a
Improving relations with the institution
and its alumni/ae association;
GALA (support of students, increased
alumni/ae involvement with school); (b)
Improving campus and off campus life
note that lgbt people have always been
for lgbt students, faculty, and staff;
part of the student body and that other
academic institutions have recognized
Increasing the visibility of lgbt persons
such associations; and (c) provide the
and concerns at alumni/ae events; and
name and address of a contact person.
Don t be surprised if after the letter s pub
Providing mentorship opportunities for
lication, the following issue of the maga
zine contains a homophobic response.
This chapter was contributed by David White of
The Network of Gay and Lesbian Alum
ni(ae) Associations, Inc.
(NetGALA), P.O. Box 533188, Washington, DC 20009; email
NetGALAcnf@aol.com or NetGALA@aol.com.
A l u m n i / a e O r g a n i z i n g
M 2 0 5