Lavender Graduation

 

Lavender Graduation is a commencement ceremony honoring graduating LGBTIQA+ and allied students. It is a cultural celebration that acknowledges the achievements and contributions that students of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions have made at Carolina. Recipients of the LGBTIQA+ Advocacy Awards are announced during the ceremony.

This program is co-sponsored by the Program in Sexuality Studies, the Provost Committee for LGBTQ Life, and Student Life and Leadership.

2021 Ceremony

Carolina’s sixteenth annual Lavender Graduation celebrating LGBTQIA+ and allied student contributions will be held on Sunday, May 9th, 2021 at 4:00 PM. 

Lavender Graduation is a commencement ceremony honoring graduating LGBTIQA+ and allied students. It is a cultural celebration that acknowledges the achievements and contributions that students of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions have made at Carolina. Recipients of the LGBTIQA+ Advocacy Awards and Sexuality Studies Awards are announced during the ceremony. This year's ceremony is hosted co-presented by the LGBTQ Center, the Program in Sexuality Studies, the Provost Committee for LGBTQ Life, and Student Life and Leadership. 

Keynote Speaker

We are honored to welcome K. Tajhi Claybren (UNC 2014) as this year's keynote speaker. K. Tajhi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the field of community health-supporting youth and young adults (ages 12-24); black, indigenous, and communities of color; transgender and non-binary communities; LBGQ communities, and people living with HIV. They are committed to supporting the healing (individual and collective), self-actualization, and liberation of TNB/LGBQ communities of color at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. While at Carolina, she was a Ronald E. McNair Research Scholar, a program assistant for the LGBTQ Center, and the student leader of the Gender Nonspecific Housing Coalition from 2011 to 2013. K. Tajhi earned their Master of Social Work and Social Work Administration from the University of Chicago and is now part of the Integrative Empowerment Group (IEG) therapy collective in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Graduate Gift Box

Since we cannot hold Lavender Graduation in person this year, we are offering graduating participants the option of having their gifts shipped. This year's gift bundle includes a 2021 rainbow graduation tassel, a copy of Pauli Murray's Song in a Weary Throat, purple decorations to adorn your space during the ceremony, a certificate of participation, and a ceremony program. To protect participant privacy (particularly those who live in unsupportive households) gifts will be shipped in plain USPS boxes.

Participation Details 

The ceremony will be held live via Zoom. Registered participants will be given a link to share with their guests. Participants can register with a legal or chosen name, customize how they are honored during the ceremony, and designate the amount of visibility they are comfortable with. 

Key Dates

  • The LGBTQ Center will accept participant registrations until Sunday, April 18th at 11:59 pm. 
  • The audience invitation and registration link will be released by Friday, April 30th.
  • The 2021 Lavender Graduation ceremony will be held virtually on Sunday, May 9th at 4:00 pm. 

Eligibility Requirements 

Participants must be approved to graduate in the most recent Fall semester or the current Spring semester. 

Participants must be one of the following at UNC-Chapel Hill: 

  • Undergraduate student 
  • Graduate student 
  • Professional student 
  • Doctoral candidate 

How to Register as a Graduate

Register at go.unc.edu/LavGrad to be included in the ceremony. Contact our Assistant Director if you have questions about participating as a graduate in the ceremony.

 

FAQ: 

Why Lavender?

Lavender is important to LGBTQ history. It combines the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear and the black triangle that lesbians were forced to wear while political prisoners in Nazi Germany. LGBTQ activists took these symbols of hatred, combined them, and created a symbol and color of pride and community.

How did Lavender Graduation start?

Now tradition at more than 200 colleges and universities across the country, Lavender Graduation began in 1995 at the University of Michigan. Ronni Sanlo, then the Director of the LGBT Campus Resource Center, organized the first Lavender Graduation with three graduates. She initiated Lavender Graduation after being denied access to attend her own children's graduations due to her sexual orientation and out of a desire to celebrate LGBT students. She has stated that her vision “is that Lavender Graduation will be an annual celebration at every college and university in the country and that the lives of our LGBT students will be fully honored.” 

Who can participate in Lavender Graduation at Carolina?

Undergraduate students, Graduate students, Professional students, and Doctoral candidates who graduated in the most recent Fall semester, or are approved to graduate in the current Spring semester.

Who can attend Lavender Graduation at Carolina?

Lavender Graduation ceremonies are typically open to the public. Participants are encouraged to invite their friends, families and loved ones. Individuals from departments and units that co-sponsor Lavender Graduation such as the Program in Sexuality Studies or the Provost Committee for LGBTQ Life, or from departments and units that work closely with the LGBTQ Center or LGBTIQA+ communities are also likely to attend.