Written by Ben Weiss, edited by Sheri White & Jen Karolewski.
This June, we are excited to celebrate Pride Month and WHOI’s long awaited re-opening. Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose global challenges, local vaccination efforts and increased understanding of the virus have dramatically driven down case counts in the area. The LGBTQIA+ community of Woods Hole is eager to come together and celebrate for the first time in over a year and half.
During lock down, we continued to gather virtually through GLOW’s monthly meet ups. GLOW is a group of folks that aspire to make the Woods Hole community a more welcoming place for members of the LGBTQIA+ community as well as their partners, allies and people that are questioning. We also seek to provide relevant resources (including institutional and community organizations, information on pronouns and gender neutral bathroom locations) to anyone who may need them.
Over the course of the past year, members of the broader scientific community in Woods Hole have engaged in discussions around justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion catalyzed by the murder of George Floyd just over one year ago. These conversations caused GLOW to reconsider how we can also become a more inclusive community. As we strive to build a more just society, it’s imperative that we consider intersectionality and the role it plays in the queer community.
When it was originally created, GLOW was an acronym that stood for “Gays, Lesbians and Others of WHOI”. The meaning of the W was later changed to stand for “Woods Hole” so as to include members of the other research institutions and the local, non-scientific community. However, continuing to center Gays and Lesbians in our name while using “Others” to describe the rest of the queer community does not align with our aims for inclusivity.
One member of our community suggested that instead of trying to forcefully reassign the meaning of the letters in the acronym, we instead adopt GLOW as an imperative verb, meaning to shine and, above all else, to be yourself! As a part of this renaming and in celebration of Pride month, we will be hosting a series of COVID safe in-person gatherings with the theme of “Glow Up!”. Our hope is to center growth, joy, and self-expression. What’s more, we’re working with the WHOI Gift Shop on a new line of “BE YOURSELF at WHOI” t-shirts that will be available for purchase at the gift shop.
If you do not identify as LGBTQIA+ but you’re looking for a way to support and celebrate with the Queer Community, please consider attending our Panel discussion on Allyship at 12pm EDT on Friday, June 4th. We will be co-hosting the event along with the Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Please register in advance HERE.
If you would like to join us for these events or learn more about GLOW, you can visit our website or get in touch with email@example.com. We look forward to celebrating with you. Happy Pride!