Group hopes to increase LGBT visibility at UNMC

Second-year medical student Matthew Follett will be going to the 2015 Heartland Pride event this Saturday, but he won’t be going alone.

Follett is the president of the UNMC Pride Alliance, a group of LGBT students, faculty, staff and allies whose mission is to increase visibility for the LGBT community on this campus through educational events.

Follett said the group will be going in support of James Medder, M.D., and Jean Amoura, M.D., who will be there with booths promoting health services for the LGBT community.

For more information on the UNMC Pride Alliance, visit the group’s Facebook page.

The interdisciplinary group was created two years ago, and the Heartland Pride event will kick off its third academic year of activities, Follett said.

Science Cafe on transgender issues

Jay Irwin, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in the department of sociology and anthropology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), spoke earlier this month about the science of transgender at an Omaha Science Cafe. To hear a podcast of Dr. Irwin’s discussion, click here.

“Our goal this year is to have more of a presence on campus,” he said.

The largest event the group held last year was an informative lecture on transgender health care that drew between 60 and 80 attendees.

Increasing visibility of the LGBT community on campus is important to more than current students, faculty and staff, Follett said. “It’s important that the LGBT community have the presence on campus,” he said. “Speaking as someone who was at one point a prospective student looking at universities, that’s one thing I looked for, whether there was an LGBT group, because I feel that universities that do have them tend to be more open and welcoming to all people.”

Plans for the coming year’s events are still being completed, Follett said.
“I hope to have a another transgender health care talk,” he said. “That drew quite a crowd. There was a great deal of interest, especially from the M1 class.”

Other activities will also be geared toward educating fellow future health professionals about the LGBT community, as well as growing the membership of the organization.

“People see Pride Alliance as a safe space for LGBT people, and certainly it is,” Follett said. “But we want to draw as many allies to the group as we can. It’s not a closed group — we want anyone who has any interest in learning about LGBT health care, or rights, or what’s going on across the country with marriage equality. We want to draw not only the LGBT community, but also allies.”

And while the group is primarily medical-student run at this point, a more academically diverse leadership team is another priority, Follett said.

“We have a leadership position still open,” he said.

The Heartland Pride event will be held from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Stinson Park-Aksarben Village on Saturday, June 20.


  1. Robb Crouch says:

    I'm very pleased to learn about UNMC Pride Alliance and wish them all the best. I completely agree with Matthew Follett about the importance to current and prospective students in having a support and advocacy group on campus. It speaks well of the university's commitment to inclusiveness and diversity. –Robb Crouch, Lincoln, Neb.

  2. Martin A. Bast says:

    Healthcare is for everyone, and it's encouraging that UNMC welcomes diversity on this campus by recognizing and promoting various organizations with its name. This motivates me to explore the opportunity with our leadership and public relations to start an UNMC Bible study for those who value, or are interested in, historic Christian faith and practice. Martin Bast, Oncology

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