The Herald recently sat down with Dr. Joshua Bastian Cole to discuss his role as our new LGBTQ+ Resource Center Coordinator. On top of his role as Coordinator, Dr. Cole, who is new to HWS, is also a professor. This semester, he is teaching the class “Queer and Trans Social Movements.”
Dr. Cole just completed his PhD in Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University. He has previously taught at SUNY Plattsburgh and the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and he has been published in a variety of scholarly journals and anthologies. His areas of research include trans studies, disability studies, performance, and screen media. In Dr. Cole’s free time, he enjoys singing; he is a member of the AFAB4, a trans masculine close harmony quartet that has performed at pride events around central New York and has performances available on YouTube. His wife, Kristin, works in the Yale Law School alumni office and lives in New Haven with their dog Dublin. Dr. Cole says simply, “I miss them both a lot.”
The Resource Center, which operates under the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, is a little-known and little-used resource on campus, but it does important work. For one, it hosts programs and events related to diversity, inclusion, and social justice; Dr. Cole supervises the creation and implementation of these events in his role as Coordinator. For another, the Center aims to support the identities of all LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, and staff; promote allyship; and foster a safe and inclusive campus community. Dr. Cole asserts, “HWS positions inclusion, equality, diversity, and justice at the core of our academic mission…LGBTQIA+ students should feel welcomed, supported, and encouraged here.” He works closely with and represents the Center alongside academic programs and student organizations as part of this mission. The Center also provides SafeZone training, which all student leaders are required to participate in, and any group of students, staff, faculty, or members of the Geneva community can request. This training helps participants create inclusive, safe spaces for discussions about sexual orientation, gender identity, and presentation. Dr. Cole points out, “You might see a SafeZone sticker on an office door, and that signals it’s okay to talk to the person behind that door about this stuff without judgment or malice.”
Finally, Dr. Cole emphasizes the Resource Center’s role as a private physical space. Located on the ground floor of DeCordova Hall, it can be used as a study or social space during Dr. Cole and the three student staff members’ (who Dr. Cole describes as being amazing) open office hours. Students can also reserve the Center for meetings and events related to diversity, inclusion, and social justice. It has comfortable seating inside and an outdoor patio for when it starts to warm up.
Dr. Cole encourages you to check out the Resource Center’s Instagram @hwslgbtqrc to find out about upcoming events. He is currently planning numerous film screenings related to his class that will also be open to the rest of the campus. He especially urges LGBTQIA+ seniors to look out for the upcoming RSVP for the HWS Lavender Graduation, which will be held on April 28th and will feature Hugh Ryan as the keynote speaker. Come and see him in DeCordova!