The Brandeis University Gender and Sexuality Center held their 11th annual Lavender Graduation and Awards Ceremony at the Chris Burden installation “Light of Reason” in front of the Rose Art Museum on May 4.

The Lavender Graduation celebrated LGBTQIA+ graduates and community leaders at Brandeis. 

Drag Queen Patty Bourrée was the master of ceremonies for the event.

The Thomas A. King Award was presented to Dr. ChaeRan Freeze (NEJS, WGS) for her service and scholarship as chair of the department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. This award is given to a faculty member embodying LGBTQIA+ allyship, as well as strong engagement with students.

Assistant Director at the Office of Study Abroad Ashley Trebisacci received the Pauli Murray Award for making the experience of studying abroad more accessible to LGBTQIA+ students. This award is presented to an administrator or staff member who demonstrates a commitment to justice and dignity for LGBTQIA+ people.

The Silvia Rivera award is given to a graduate student demonstrating leadership in action. This award was presented to Lisa Thorn MPP ’23 for her work with intergenerational advocacy.

The Marsha P. Johnson Award is presented to undergraduate students upholding a legacy of service, community, and liberation. This award was presented to Kyla Speizer ’23 for her activism with Period at ’Deis and Richie Impert ’24 for his activism with VoiceMale. 

Rose Peña Ríos ’23 received the Audre Lorde Award for their service as student leader for Triskelion, the University’s oldest LGBTQ+ student-led community. The Audre Lorde Award is presented to a graduate who courageously affirms the dignity of all human beings, including LGBTQ+ people, through language and actions.

Esha Rakesh ’25 received the Leonard Bernstein Award for making a significant difference at the Gender and Sexuality Center as a Pride Representative, specializing in questioning and navigating asexual identities and South Asian-American identity.

This event was supported by the GSC, the Rose Art Museum, the LGBTQ+ Alumni Network, and Student Engagement and Campus Life, and was open for all to attend.