Lavender Graduation celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of graduating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and ally students, as well as acknowledges their contributions to the University of Idaho over the time they have spent here. This year, our 2014 Lavender Graduation will be held on Tuesday, April 22 at 7:00 pm in the Commons Clearwater/Whitewater Rooms
In 1995, Ronni Sanlo, the Director of the University of Michigan LGBT Resource Center, decided that LGBT students needed their own graduation ceremony like that of other racial and ethnic minorities on campus to honor their accomplishments and contributions to the university and to acknowledge the fact that they had survived the college experience. Since that time, many campuses across the country have begun to host their own Lavender Graduations.
2014 Keynote Speaker: Chris Bidiman
As a 4th generation Idahoan, Chris has a deep connection to the state. More importantly, he has compassion the welfare of Idaho’s people. During his high school years, his activism began at the end of the 1990’s by demanding fair and equal representation of GLBT students in anti-discrimination protection policies within his local school district.
As a University of Idaho student, Chris continued this passion. He became active with the GSA (known as the Gay-Straight Alliance at the time), holding a variety of leadership positions. As activism and education so often go hand-in-hand, Chris shifted his energy to public education. At that time, he began authoring a weekly sexual health column for The Argonaut (university paper), with particular emphasis on gender identity and sexual orientation equality.
Outside the University setting, Chris has inspired political and social activism through his involvement with TabiKat Productions, a monthly event which has served the social needs of hundreds of GLBTQIA persons for the past nineteen years. He is proud to have recently celebrated his 10th year as a drag performer with TabiKat, and the ongoing efforts of providing a safe, welcoming space for all gender identities and sexual orientations.
With his degree in School and Community Health from UI, Chris combines his experience, knowledge and compassion in his work with, often underserved and underrepresented, populations. As the director of Inland Oasis his days are filled with serving the needs of the GLBTQIA population of the Palouse, as well as those persons infected, affected, and at risk for HIV/AIDS.
Chris enjoys a diversity of movies and books, knitting, thrift store and yard sale shopping and alphabetizing. He is energized by the ongoing love and support from his friends and family, especially his mother.
Laughter is very important to have in Chris’ life. Chris also loves rhinestones.