Mission Moments: A Q&A with Kristen Hogan, GSC Education Coordinator
Dr. Kristen Hogan strives to make UT Austin a safer, more inclusive campus at the Gender and Sexuality Center: Serving Women and LGBTQA Communities (GSC). When she’s not training faculty, staff and students how to become Allies in Action, she’s helping undergraduates become leaders in the Peers for Pride program.
This is just a small snapshot of her work at the GSC, where the doors are always open for anyone on campus who is looking for a place of belonging. We caught up with Hogan to learn more about her good work in the GSC, a unit within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.
What drives your passion for serving women and the LGBTQA+ community?
The inspiration that I keep coming back to is a quote from the Trans Activist Movement, “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.” That’s something we live out every day—thinking about creating liberation for all people of color, for all women, for all LGBTQA+ folks, for all people with disabilities, and for those who share some or all of those identities. This is what makes my work so fulfilling, and why I’m excited to come to the office every day.
How are you and your team of education leaders spearheading gender justice and LGBTQA+ justice here on campus?
There are students, staff and faculty who want tools for making their spaces safer for all LGBTQA+ folks and women. As education coordinator at the GSC, that’s what I do. I go to different sites across campus and teach Allies in Action workshops with our education team to provide those tools and learn from other people about what they’re doing to make our campus more inclusive. At the GSC, we’re really providing an education clearinghouse to make things better here on campus and out in the community.
What do you enjoy most about teaching these workshops?
I enjoy working with people who are intentional about their practice and want to create safer and more welcoming spaces for all LGBTQA+ folks. It’s very rewarding seeing how changes are being made over time, and hearing back from our Allies about how they made a positive impact on their departments, centers and student organizations. Allyship is really a wonderful and inspiring life practice.
What is Peers for Pride, and how are students benefiting from this unique course?
I teach the Peers for Pride class, an undergraduate course that covers LGBTQA+ realities, oppression and activism. Students learn how to develop performance-based workshops, in which they shape the discussion around fictional and realistic scenes of experiences of LGBTQA+ students on campus. It’s really a great way to create a space for people to learn about and envision what healthy LGBTQA+ communities look like with attention to gender, sexuality, and racial justice, and to also show our undergraduates how to engage and educate people in a conversation that matters to them.
In addition to championing social justice at the GSC, Hogan is also an avid researcher. She recently published a new book The Feminist Bookstore Movement: Lesbian Antiracism and Feminist Accountability (Duke University Press, March 2016), which draws on her experiences working at BookWoman in Austin and co-managing the antiracist trans-positive Toronto Women’s Bookstore. Visit ShelfLIfe@Texas, the university’s book blog, to read her Q&A.
The GSC is located on the second floor of the Student Activity Center, room 2.112. If you are interested in joining the Allies in Action program, visit the GSC website for more details.