The LGBT community in Hampton Roads is full of powerful activists like Meghan Morris, a 23-year-old student at Old Dominion University.
Morris helps the cause for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in many ways, including by working with a panel of students at ODU to talk about activism and by providing sensitivity training for faculty.
The sensitivity training involves talking to faculty about issues, especially ones involving LGBT people, that the panel feels faculty need to be made aware of. The panel gives background on LGBT people and talk about things like using correct pronouns and discussing different scenarios, including some the students have experienced and felt could’ve been handled better.
“I’ve felt very lucky to become a part of it,” Morris said.
Because of all her work, Morris received one of two scholarships awarded this year by Hampton Roads Pride, a local nonprofit that works to advance civil rights for the LGBT community.
Hampton Roads Pride uses its outreach, especially through PrideFest, an annual celebration, to help the LGBT activism community. As part of that outreach it has offered scholarships to applicants from the LGBT community almost since its inception about 30 years ago, said John Osterhout, the organization’s president.
Anybody who is an activist for the LGBT community and plans or is going to college may be considered.
“We look heavily at academics and community service,” Osterhout said.
Charles Ford, the chair of Hampton Roads Pride’s scholarship committee, said fundraisers are held throughout the year to help pay for the scholarships. Thanks to the continued growth of PrideFest, the group has been able to increase the size of their scholarships over the years.
This year Morris and one other local student each received a scholarship worth $2,500. Hampton Roads Pride hopes to give more next year, Osterhout said.
“It’s nice to feel like you’re being recognized for what you do,” Morris said.