Prism Alliance honors LGBTQ+ icons
By Ashlee Buhler
There is never a bad time to celebrate the successes of the LGBTQ+ community and the many strides it has made in the last few years.
The LCC Employee Prism Alliance asked students and employees to submit nominations for an individual in the LGBTQ+ community who has made a difference in their life or in society. Those nominations were presented in the opening reception of the inaugural LGBTQ+ Icon Display on April 5.
The exhibit features many celebrities in the LGBTQ+ community who have made strong contributions to society and are dedicated to the fight for equality. Some well-known names include YouTuber Tyler Oakley, talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres and Olympic athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
Another well-known name included in the exhibit is LCC’s very own Layne Ingram.
Ingram, who is the associate dean of Academic & Career Pathways and also serves as the head coach of the women’s basketball team, made the transition from female to male in 2017. Ingram is the only coach in Michigan — at any level — to make this transition.
Erica James, a staff member in academic advising, chose Ingram as her LGBTQ+ icon. During the opening reception, she spoke to the crowd about the impact Ingram has made on her life.
“When I came out in 1984 there was not a LGBTQ role model that looked like him — nobody that I could relate to,” she said. “Upon returning to LCC in 2006, we still did not have a person of color representing the LGBTQ community.
“Then in the fall of 2013, Layne became the associate dean of Academic & Career Pathways. From our very first one-on-one meeting I knew he would be somebody that I could connect with.
“I am certain that Layne will continue to be a positive role model for the LGBTQ community and students at LCC. It’s important that our students know that they have an advocate who understands and somebody who is willing to listen and inspire.”
During the reception, Ingram said he felt humbled to be featured alongside so many great LGBTQ+ icons. He also said he is thankful for the ongoing support he has received from the LCC community.
“I knew that I was working at a place that was open and accepting for all walks of life,” he said. “I didn’t know how the college or the people would react last year when I was transitioning. I didn’t know that the enormous amount of weight that I had been carrying was going to be lifted.
“It was lifted by the feeling of freedom. It’s something that I had been holding back for longer than I can remember and it was lifted by the community at LCC … I will never forget how this college community wrapped me in their arms and said, ‘It’s OK to be you.’”
The LGBTQ+ Icon Display is located on the third floor of the TLC library and will be available until April 30.
For more information on the LCC Employee Prism Alliance, visit http://prism.openlcc.net/