LGBTQA Special Interest Group

SIG Chairs:

Jen Dugger
Portland State University
Phone: (503)725-2035
Fax: (503) 725-4103

Teryn J. Robinson
847-735-5167 (office)
847-735-6297 (fax)


The LGBTQA Special Interest Group (SIG) serves two primary groups of AHEAD members, 1) those who are LGBTQA-identified, and 2) those who would like more information on the LGBTQ community so as to better serve those students on our respective campuses.


LGBTQA Online Community

About the LGBTQA Special Interest Group

The acronym LGBTQA refers to sexual orientations and gender identities defined as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and their allies (traditionally heterosexual allies to the aforementioned groups).  We acknowledge that this is not an exhaustive list of sexual or gender identities which we consider included in the Special Interest Group’s (SIG) charge. We welcome all individuals of all sexual and gender identities as SIG members.

For the LGBTQA-identified disability service providers, this SIG offers a much needed community, an opportunity to share challenges and ideas for change, and the chance to educate colleagues about LGBTQ-identified people and the connection that exists between the struggle of people who are LGBTQ-identified and that of those who have disabilities. This SIG, on an individual level, helps to foster more professionally and personally well-rounded AHEAD members, benefitting the larger AHEAD organization as a result.

Additionally, the SIG provides guidance to disability service providers working with students with disabilities who identify as LGBTQ.  We understand and affirm the complex intersections of identifying as a person with a disability and as a member of the LGBTQ community. This is especially true during the traditional college years, a time when many students explore their many identities – including sexual orientation and gender identity – for the first time as an adult. We also acknowledge that there is a statistically significant number of students who identify as both having disabilities and being members of the LGBTQ community. We aim to provide a safe space for discussion of issues specific to these identity intersections, both for our members and for our students at our respective institutions.

We affirm the good work of AHEAD’s Standing Committee on Diversity and Inclusion in raising the consciousness of and continuing conversations around diverse identities. Just as the Racial and Ethnic Diversity and Disability (REDD) SIG informs a particular subsection of our diversity work as an organization, so does the LGBTQA SIG. We believe that ensuring that LGBTQ issues are included in diversity conversations is a focus of this SIG as it is of the Standing Committee on Diversity.

AHEAD prides itself in providing “quality services to meet the needs of persons with disabilities involved in all areas of higher education.” The LGBTQA SIG complements this stated purpose of AHEAD by helping members grow their competencies in areas of LGBTQ awareness, terminology, and utilization of resources. The LGBTQA SIG can assist AHEAD with providing quality training on the intersections of disability and sexual/gender identities to AHEAD’s members.

Initiatives undertaken by the SIG

  • Gender Neutral Restrooms
  • Pronouns on name badges

Upcoming Conference Happenings for the LGBTQA SIG

2018 AHEAD Conference LGBTQA Events/Activities

Check out this link for more about the following: 

  • LGBTQA Mix and Mingle at the Exhibit Hall
  • SIG Meeting
  • Concurrent Sessions
  • Awards Dinner and Dance (**with possible after party at local gay bar**)
  • Gay Brunch
  • Additional Notes of Interest!

LGBTQA SIG on Social Media

Come find us on Facebook and say hello!

LGBTQ Representation at Past Conferences

  • 2010 - Denver, CO
    Concurrent Panel Presentation: Trans, Queer, and Disabled
  • 2012 - New Orleans, LA
    Plenary: Garrett Zuercher
  • 2013 - Baltimore
    Concurrent Session: Identities: The Intersection of Gender, Sexuality, and Disability
  • 2015 - AHEAD to You Webinar
    Webinar: Gender, Sexuality, and Disability: An Introduction
  • 2015 - St. Paul, MN
    Concurrent Session: Trans* and Disabled 101: A Practitioner’s Guide for Getting it Right
  • 2017 - Orlando, FL
    Plenary: “you are SO brave.” a performance + talk at the margins of disability, trans, and racial justice with Kay Ulanday Barrett

Resources and Readings:

Demonstrate Your Allyship with LGBTQ Students:
How to be an LGBT Ally -- from the Human Rights Campaign

Understanding and Using Pronouns Effectively:
Pronouns 101 -- from the Gender and Sexuality Center and the University of Colorado - Boulder

Understanding overlapping identities and how to support individuals at multiple margins:
Why Intersectionality Can't Wait -- Kimberly Crenshaw, from The Washington Post’s In Theory column

Understanding How To Support the Queer/Disabled Community:
How You Can Be a Better Ally to the Queer Disabled Community: