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LGVMA Chapter Goes to San Diego

This August, Dean Eleanor Green provided funds to allow two veterinary students and one staff member to attend the Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association (LGVMA) Annual Meeting at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Convention in San Diego.  As president of my school's chapter of the LGVMA, I was lucky enough to be one of those students, joined by Elise Jemmott, secretary of our chapter, and John Scroggs, Chief of Staff of the vet school, advisor to our chapter and a new board member of the LGVMA.

After settling into our hotel rooms, we headed to our first event, the LGVMA Annual Meeting.   Here we not only covered the usual business of budgets and board members, but we also discussed current LGBT issues in our profession, new ideas to get members more involved and how to keep a group like this connected.  Dean Green, John, Elise and I all helped to describe to the veterinarians, students and technicians in the room what we were doing at Texas A&M to promote LGBT issues and diversity.  (Yes, you read that correctly.  The dean of Texas A&M's vet school attended the LGVMA Annual Meeting.)  I left the meeting feeling energized and excited for the rest of the convention.

Saturday and Sunday were spent in continuing education seminars, browsing the exhibit hall and representing the LGVMA at our booth.  During this time we met and got to know veterinarians and vet students from across the nation.  As Sunday night was to be my last in San Diego, the LGVMA General Meeting that evening wrapped up my experience at the AVMA Convention.  Brad Sears of the Williams Institute spoke on current studies in LGBT demographics, legal issues and the community's economic value.  I think many in attendance were surprised with some of the numbers and figures he produced.  The highlight of the night for me, though, was when Dean Eleanor Green received the LGVMA's Achievement Award for her support of the LGBT community here at Texas A&M.

As the weekend progressed, I soon became accustomed to a certain look of astonishment fellow convention-goers gave whenever any of us from Texas A&M explained our situation.  Not only had our administration offered financial support to get our LGVMA chapter started and for officers to attend the LGVMA Annual Meeting, but the Dean herself attended both LGVMA events while at the AVMA convention.  And the words these incredulous listeners always sputtered?  "And you're from Texas?!"  Those words always filled me with pride and joy.  Yes, we're from Texas.