Members of the Washington University in St. Louis community were recognized during the fourth annual James M. Holobaugh Honors ceremony Feb. 8 in Ridgley Hall’s Holmes Lounge.
The award honors individuals and organizations that promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, perform direct advocacy and service to the St. Louis metropolitan area and incorporate education and dialogue as part of their practice.
The honor is named after WUSTL alumnus Jim Holobaugh (BS, engineering, 1990), who was a cadet in the campus Reserve Officer Training Corps program. In 1989, after coming out as gay to his squad commander, Holobaugh was removed from the program and ordered to repay the U.S. Army for his scholarship.
Eventually succumbing to pressure from campus groups and LGBT rights organizations across the country — in addition to an impassioned response from WUSTL administrators — the Army reversed its decision. Holobaugh went on to travel across the country, engaging diverse groups in dialogue on issues of service and citizenship.
Adrienne D. Davis, JD, vice provost and the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law, delivered the Holobaugh Honors keynote address. Davis is renowned for her scholarship and teaching on gender and race relations, theories of justice and reparations; feminist legal theory; and law and popular culture.
The 2012 Holobaugh honorees are:
Kathy Brock, PhD, a psychologist and assistant director of mental health services at WUSTL. Brock supports WUSTL’s LGBT community by providing queer-affirmative counseling services to students as well as training and consultation to student organizations.
She also provides compassionate support and education to parents of LGBT students during Parent & Family Weekend. She has published and presented articles aimed at helping therapists to better serve LGBT college students. Brock volunteers for HealthRight International, evaluating asylum seekers who have been persecuted on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status.
Vinita Chaudhry, a sophomore from Hunt Valley, Md., studying women, gender and sexuality studies and anthropology, both in Arts & Sciences, with a minor in public health. She is co-president of internal affairs of Pride Alliance, one of the university’s LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual) organizations. She also is member and secretary of an a cappella group, Mosaic Whispers.
In high school, Chaudhry served as co-president of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance for three years and worked with the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network.
Andrea Friedman, PhD, associate professor of history and of women, gender, and sexuality studies. Friedman is author of Prurient Interests: Gender, Democracy and Obscenity in New York City, 1909-1945 (Columbia, 2000). She teaches courses about the history and politics of gender and sexuality in the United States, including “Intro to LGBTQ Studies” and “Gender & Sexuality in 1950s America.”
Brook McKeown, a senior from Baltimore, Md., studying chemical and energy engineering. During her time at WUSTL, McKeown has served in leadership roles for Open, Safe Zones and the Congress of the South 40.
She also has been involved with Engineers Without Borders and the LGBT advisory board. Her future plans include pursuing a career in alternative energy.
OUTLaw is an educational, political and social alliance of WUSTL law students interested in creating support for individuals of sexual and gender diversity. As part of that mission, the group aims to address emerging legal issues that affect the LGBT community.
OUTLaw hosts an annual Midwest LGBT Law Conference, which focuses on how the law intersects with sexual justice. OUTLaw also has a rich history of advocating against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which made its repeal a proud moment for the group.
Ezelle Sanford III, a senior from Charlotte, N.C., studying anthropology and public health. Sanford is chair of the Diversity Affairs Council of Student Union and former facilitator for Open, an LGBT coming-out group. He also is a residential assistant in the Thomas Eliot Residential College.
Sanford is conducting independent research on the institution of the “black hospital” from 1950 to 1970 as a Merle Kling Undergraduate Honors Fellow and for his senior honors thesis.
Sherrill Wayland worked 12 years in the fields of disability advocacy and education. In 2004, Wayland became involved in LGBT equality issues, including the 2004 Missouri Marriage Amendment; the statewide advocacy group PROMO; and was a founding member and secretary of the Gateway Stonewall Democrats.
This spurred Wayland to use her professional advocacy skills within the LGBT community and she returned to academia, earning a master’s degree in social work from the Brown School in 2008. During this time, she researched LGBT aging issues and started the St. Louis GLBT Aging Task Force. Upon graduation, Wayland became the founder and current executive director of SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders) Metro St. Louis.