Three alumni are currently in the preliminary stages of organizing the first ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Andover alumni committee and support network this spring. Michael Ruderman ’03, Matt Kane ’03 and Jay Coleman ’80 will kick start the group with an alumni gathering in New York shortly before graduation.
“We’re working to build something that serves as a cohort of alumni who are really dedicated to helping other LGBT alumni and Andover students connect. We could also, if asked, serve as a resource to the administration and the faculty if the school is coming up with new policies [regarding LGBT issues]. We want to be available as a sounding board and to provide our own experiences not just as alumni but also as LGBT professionals,” said Ruderman.
While still in the process of compiling names of LGBT alumni, the group plans to hold its first meeting this spring in New York, with an open invitation to the entire Andover LGBT community. An event in San Francisco will follow in the late summer or early fall, according to Ruderman.
Although the effort is currently divided geographically, with Ruderman leading the effort in San Francisco and Kane and Coleman heading the New York event, Ruderman said he hopes the group ultimately becomes a support network, especially for alumni who may have struggled with their sexual orientations at Andover.
“The LGBT population is often an invisible one, particularly in high school. [LGBT individuals] often come out during college or after… This is an opportunity for people who never [came out as] LGBT at Andover to not only reconnect with the school, but to reconnect with the school as an LGBT alumnus,” said Ruderman.
“There is so much Andover does well when it comes to ensuring a safe environment for LGBT students, staff, and faculty. I’m excited to help Andover expand that community to the alumni. I think Andover can be a pioneer in this area, in much the same way that the academy has led the independent school community in myriad other ways,” wrote Ruderman in an e-mail to The Phillipian.