In its ongoing commitment to inclusivity, SCU joined in Pride Month this past June to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals and honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan.
The federal government first recognized June as Pride Month in 1999, and it is now held annually as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. According to The Library of Congress, The Stonewall Uprising was a reaction to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, then one of the most popular gay bars in New York City, on June 28, 1969. A series of events between police and LGBTQ+ protestors unfolded over the following six days, marking a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.
Now, LGBTQ+ Pride Month is held to celebrate LGBTQ+ individuals, remember lives lost as a result of hate crimes or HIV/AIDS, and recognize the impact that the LGBTQ+ community has on history locally, nationally, and internationally. SCU participated with a month of educational and fun activities, including trivia, a film screening, an outdoor Pride celebration, and two ally training sessions.
SCU’s commitment to equitable healthcare
The ACLU notes that in the past few years, the United States has seen an increase in government bills that attack LGBTQ+ rights and limit local protections, particularly for transgender youth. Recognizing the role of education in providing equitable healthcare to underserved and vulnerable communities, SCU offered ally training sessions to better educate current and future healthcare professionals on LGBTQ+ identities.
Students celebrating Pride Month at SCU.
Run by Alexander Cruz, MEd, the ally training sessions provided essential training on the importance of pronouns, gender, and sexual identities, and coming out. “I want to respect everyone here the same no matter their identities. We are all here to learn and grow with each other and impact the future of integrative healthcare,” Alexander said.
SCU Pride Month Spotlight
As SCU’s Senior Coordinator for Inclusion and Well-being, Alexander received his education from the University of Virginia, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies with a concentration in Race and Ethnic Relations, along with Women and Gender Studies with a concentration in Sexuality. Following this, he received an MEd in Student Affairs Practices in Higher Education from the University of Virginia.
Alexander Cruz, Senior Coordinator for Inclusion and Well-being
“As a staff member working in higher education, my career goals are to raise awareness and evolve DEI initiatives to create a more equitable environment for students in higher education.” As a Queer Person of Color (QPOC), he understands how complex navigating an intersecting identity can be in various environments.
In February 2023, he presented a TEDxUVA talk on navigating toxic masculinity as an openly gay athlete, where he discussed his experiences battling with his own sexuality, navigating the toxic sports community before and after coming out, and advocating for equal rights and opportunities for athletes who are LGBTQ+ identifying.
Discussing the importance of honoring Pride Month and the difficulties LGBTQ+ individuals face, Alexander says, “…We do not have to fully understand everything for us to be kind humans to one another. …We are not walking in the same shoes as every individual in the world, but that does not mean we can’t respect each other and treat each other with the utmost respect.”
At SCU, we value people’s health equally and want all individuals and communities to have a fair and just opportunity to be healthy. To learn more about SCU’s values and how we are transforming and redefining health and healthcare education, head to scuhs.edu/about-scu/.