Alternative Thanksgiving and LGBT Student Leadership Award

Alternative Thanksgiving and LGBT Student Leadership Award

Ana Ruiz receiving the Katy Garrison LGBT Student Leadership Award

Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and community members joined together for the 5th Annual Alternative Thanksgiving, an event that honors LGBT students who face a number of difficulties during the holiday season. For some LGBT students, going home means going back in the closet, or it means leaving behind their partners and special relationships because they aren't recognized by their families. For a number of students it can be a reminder that they're been kicked out of their homes and have nowhere to go for the holidays. 

The LGBT Alumni Network hosts the event every year, and this year Humana's LGBT resource group contributed with donations of home cooked items like turkey and dressing to the potluck event. LGBT Center staff, alumni, and the supportive U of L community recognize the need for positive kinship experiences around the holidays and this event allows students to bring their whole selves to the proverbial dinner table.

Additionally, Alternative Thanksgiving is the night to celebrate the Katy Garrison LGBT Students Leadership Award recipients who will graduate in December. This year the LGBT Center honored Ana Ruiz with the award, given to students who have held one or more leadership positions with the LGBT Center or the affiliated registered student organizations.

In 2011, very early in her college career, Ana founded LAHSO (Latin American and Hispanic Student Organization). Every year since it's inception Ana has held a position on their executive team, where she currently serves as president. Ana also served the LGBT Center as an Intersection Ambassador during the 2012-2013 academic year. Ana has also served as a Go College Mentor, a program in which college mentors guide high school students in our area to understand the value of and seek higher education. Ana has been involved in the LGBT Center's Speak Out panel program, where she has used her gifts for public speaking to promote advocacy for the LGBT community across campus. During Pride Week 2014, Ana facilitated U of L's first-ever Spanish language speak out panel, which highlighted the unique experiences of LGBT Latin American and Hispanic students.

Ana had this to say about her experience with the LGBT Center:
"I like to say that the LGBT Center saves lives. There's students out there who get kicked out of their home. Their parents Their parents won't talk to them- it's horrible. But when they come into the Intersection, they have a place where they can feel at home. They feel safe and they feel loved. My parents didn't kick me out, they didn't do anything like that. (The LGBT Center) didn't necessarily save my life, bit it most definitely changed my life."

LGBT Center - Belknap

Cultural & Equity Centers

120 E. Brandeis Ave.

University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky 40292

Phone:(502) 852-0696

Office Hours

Diversity & Equity Centers on Belknap Campus are open 
M-F 9am-5pm

HSC LGBT Center is open
M-F 9am-5pm

Social Media

LGBT Center - HSC

500 S. Preston St.

A Building, Room 209C/D

Louisville, Kentucky 40292

Phone:(502) 852-5861