Alum Leads Workshop on LGBTQ Issues

Community members gathered in the Watson common room last Thursday for the latest installment in the Watson Workshop series.
The workshops are designed to educate people who want to know more about LGBTQ issues. Although Watson is not an LGBTQ-exclusive space, its role as a home for students of all identities who wish to live in a residential community with a focus on gender identity makes it the ideal setting for these discussions.
Mr. Robert Kuhn ’75, President and CEO of Kuhn Associates Sustainability Advisors, LLC, held the first workshop, “LGBTQ in the Workplace: An Evolving Landscape,” on April 25. Josline Mitoguena ’19 said she attended because she wanted “to learn more about the LGBTQ community and learn how to better help my friends who do identify as members of that group.”
Gill Duquette ’19, a Watson proctor, thought that the topic was a good representation of the different issues that LGBTQ people continue to face. She said, “It is such an evolving landscape because, currently, each state has its own laws about [employment], which conflict with each other.”
Duquette enjoyed how personal Kuhn was. She said, “The first thing he did was put a picture of him and his husband on the table and say that in 38 states he could get fired for putting that there. He really helped make the issue more real.”
Mitoguena thought that the workshop helped attendees understand how LGBTQ people can navigate situations in their jobs. She said, “One thing I found very interesting was, when he [discussed] the importance of reading [a] work contract, so you can look into policies that will help protect you.”
Many faculty members contributed to the atmosphere of support. Mitoguena said, “I appreciated how many adults were in the room, because I feel like they can help us navigate through any problems we’re having.”
Duquette commented on the series as a whole, saying, “There’s a lot to learn about each type of identifier, and there’s so much that we think we know that we don’t know. I think this type of event has to continue to grow; we need more of them.”
On Thursday, May 9, Ms. Paula Russo, instructor in history, led the second Watson Workshop on LGBTQ rights and the Supreme Court. She spoke about the legal history of LGBTQ issues and gender rights as well as upcoming and recent cases on the topic.
The next workshop, “The Queer Art Scene in NYC,” led by Ms. Terri Moore, instructor in art, will take place on Tuesday, May 21.


The original version of this article online, and in print, incorrectly stated that the next workshop would take place on Tuesday, May 23. The date is, in fact, Tuesday, May 21.