Those familiar with me know I'm a longtime LGBTQQAI ally and have been working a long time for inclusivity, especially in dental education. In 2008 I helped found a group on campus for students that were heavily marginalized, to the point of invisibility.
The GSDA (Gay/Straight Dental Alliance) floundered initially, but in 2010 students entered the school that were interested in the mission and we TOOK OFF!! Since that time we have been an active, thriving group at the UCSF School of Dentistry. Most important, since 2010 we have had a culture comfortable enough for LGBTQQAI students to be out publicly, something that had NEVER HAPPENED PRIOR TO 2010😶
We now have students comfortable being out at school in all four class years. In 2014 we hit another important threshold - we welcomed our first out lesbian dental student. Clearly, while these are important and noteworthy advancements, we have a long way to go.
To that end the UCSF GSDA is gathering themselves to push for the creation of a National LGBTQQAI student organization! Several GSDA members are traveling together to attend the upcoming American Dental Education Association (ADEA) mtg in Denver with the goal of making contacts and creating momentum for other dental schools to join us in making our dream of a National Queer Student Organization a reality.
Do you have any thoughts about creating a national organization? Any suggestions for creating interest and momentum? We welcome all support, feedback, and encouragement.