Chris Tanaka ’07, ’10, Assistant Director of LGBTQ* Services, has been elected to the board for the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, a national organization that aims to advance LGBTQ* professionals in higher education.
The Consortium of Higher Education Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Professionals, or “Consortium” as the organization is known, was officially created in 1997 to support those individuals in higher education who are working on college campuses to educate and support people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, advocate for more inclusive intersectional policies and practices, and improve the campus climate.
“Chris is a champion for our LGBTQ* students, faculty, and staff, and has worked very hard to create an open and welcoming community for all Seawolves,” said Rick Gatteau, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. “I am so pleased that Chris has been elected to this important role in providing leadership and education on a national level.”
A main focus of the Consortium is to provide forums for LGBT resource professionals to discuss practices, encourage professional development opportunities, and connect at national Student Affairs conferences such as NASPA and LGBTQ* conferences like Creating Change. Tanaka has been an active member of the Consortium for over ten years. In 2016, they were elected as one of two Northeastern Region Representatives. In this role, they helped connect and provided guidance and resources for LGBT resource professionals in the Northeast region, organized region-specific meetings and welcomed new members to the Consortium. “The Consortium serves as a connector of new professionals with folks who can provide promising practices so we can all provide a more consistent experience for LGBTQ* students across the country.” said Tanaka.
As an executive board member, Tanaka will be joining nine other LGBT resource professionals from different higher education institutions in the nation. “This is a very exciting time to join the board as the Consortium is undergoing a structural transition that should allow us to offer a lot more in terms of professional development, networking and developing pipelines,” said Tanaka.
In addition to the Consortium, Tanaka is also on the Executive Board of International Pronouns Day serving as Co-chair of the Education and Resources Committee.
Besides overseeing the LGBTQ* Center and creating inclusive spaces and initiatives for students, Tanaka has consulted in different University initiatives such as the Chosen or Preferred Name Policy, gender-inclusive housing, and all-gender restrooms, and provided program advisement to LGBTQ*-related student clubs and organizations, and served as faculty/staff advisor to many of them.
Tanaka has also facilitated campus observations of various national and international awareness initiatives such as Transgender Day of Remembrance, Transgender Day of Visibility, Coming Out Day, World AIDS Day, Pride Month, and collaborated in history/heritage, cultural and disabilities awareness efforts in recognition of the intersectionality of the LGBTQ* communities. They also continue to improve LGBTQ* campus traditions such as Lavender Graduation, Queeraoke, Rainbow Fall Feast, Queer Grounds: Open mic and Coffee House, etc.
A Seawolf through and through, Tanaka has been instrumental in the advocacy for LGBTQ* students on campus. “It is not about what we think students need. Everything we do must be student centered. A lot of the work we do exists because a student came forward and said they needed something,” said Tanaka.