Simpson College hosts first annual Lavender Ceremony


by Belle Ward, Features Editor

The Simpson College Office of Student Development and Pride are hosting the first Lavender Ceremony on Monday, April 29.

According to the Human Rights Campaign website, a Lavender Ceremony is: “a cultural celebration that recognizes LGBTQ students of all races and ethnicities and acknowledges their achievements and contributions to the university as students who survived the college experience.”

Kaylyn Fisher, president of Pride, was one of the students working on bringing the Lavender Ceremony to Simpson.

“I think it’s kind of a way to celebrate LGBT students and recognize specific achievements that they’ve done, and to just celebrate them as a person,” Fisher said.

“I would like to see a lot of students able to just connect with one another, and just really taking a moment to pause before finals week,” Fisher said.

Fisher said the idea for a Lavender Ceremony came from information found by Jackie Brittingham and Cyd Dyer, who notified Heidi Levine about bringing it to Simpson.  

Heidi Levine passed the information along to CoryAnne Harrigan, the faculty adviser of Pride.

Seniors Tim Palese and Blake Carlson will be speaking at the ceremony, as well as religion professor Jan Everhart.

“Those speeches are are kind of taking the time to recognize student achievements, but also what being a member of the LGBTQ community means to them,” Fisher said.

Senior Tim Palese has been involved in bringing the ceremony to Simpson and attended initial discussions with Heidi Levine.

“It’s important to do things to recognize that even though the community is not large, it is still a part of Simpson, and to ensure that it is incorporated into the social fabric of Simpson,” Palese said.

“For a lot of people coming to Simpson, this very well may be their first time interacting with that population,” Palese said. “I do think it is important that they are recognized as both a part of the Simpson community, but also as a unique group that has a unique Simpson experience.”

Although this is the first Lavender Ceremony, Palese hopes this event becomes a tradition.

The naming of the Lavender Ceremony is significant. The Human Rights Campaign website states: “It is the combination of the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear in concentration camps and the black triangle designating lesbians as political prisoners in Nazi Germany.”

This importance interested Palese during the planning process.

“Reclaiming that term is important. It also comes though, with the recognition that the unfortunate reality is that there is still a sense of that historic or ‘other’ related to the LGBT community, and some people have, and could continue to use that as a means of persecution,” Palese said.

The ceremony will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Hubbell Hall II.