USF Holds Separate Graduation for LGBTQ Students

The University of South Florida is hosting a 'Lavender Ceremony' on Wednesday to celebrate self-identifying LGBTQ+ students who are graduating.

Currently, over 100 universities hold a separate graduation ceremony for LGBTQ+ students.

The University of South Florida is hosting a “Lavender Ceremony” on Wednesday to celebrate self-identifying LGBTQ+ students who are graduating.

The annual celebration is referred to as the ‘Lavender Ceremony’ and provides 50 graduating LGBTQ+ students with rainbow stoles. 

The email sent out to all USF students set to graduate in 2022 stated, “Lavender Graduation is an event where USF students (undergrad, graduate, and professional) who self-identify as LGBTQ+ and have graduated or are planning to graduate in the 2021-2022 academic year have the opportunity to be recognized in an additional special ceremony apart from the main USF Commencement.” 

The mass email, which Campus Reform obtained, was sent to all soon-to-be graduates at USF and encouraged only students that self-identify as LGBTQ+ to participate in this ceremony.

[RELATED: University of New Hampshire hosted special graduation celebration for 'Students of Color' and other 'diverse' identities]

The ceremony has been coined the "Lavender Ceremony" because lavender is a combination of the pink triangles that gay men had to wear and the black triangles that lesbian women had to wear in concentration camps in Nazi Germany, according to the Human Rights Campaign. 

The first Lavender graduation was held in 1995 and its concept quickly gained popularity. Currently, over 100 universities hold a separate graduation ceremony for their LGBTQ+ students.

[RELATED: Chapman University hosts racially segregated 'cultural graduation celebrations']

The concept of holding separate graduation celebrations has not stopped with the Lavender Ceremonies. 

In 2021, Columbia University held 6 separate graduation ceremonies for students of various genders and ethnicities. Chapman University, located in California, followed this practice and held a Black graduation, an Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APDA) graduation, a lavender (LGBTQ+) graduation, a disability graduation, a Middle Eastern graduation, and a Latinx graduation. 

University of South Florida, Columbia University, and Chapman University did not respond to requests for comment from Campus Reform.

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