An Evening of Queer Joy:

Express Yourself

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

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Q & A

Q: I’m not “out” – will photos be taken?
We will not have a photographer at the event. Instead, participants will have opportunities to “express themselves” through their own photos and there will be opportunities to share these after the event. Further, participants will have a denotation on their badges signaling if they consent to photography. 

Q: I’m worried about the ongoing anti-LGBTQIA+ violence across the country. Will there be security at the gayla?
Yes. Security measures will be in place.

Q: How are dietary preferences and restrictions managed?
We will be providing a wide range of reception options, including vegan foods and EANABS, in addition to non-vegan alternatives, wine, and beer.  

Q: Are staff included or is this just centered on student/trainee interests?
Yes! 2/5 of last year’s event program participants, 39% of gayla attendees, and 2/3 of the planning committee were staff. We expect similar numbers in 2023, if not more!

Q: Are allies and accomplices welcome?
Yes! Our movement would not be where it is today without allies and accomplices like you. The gayla centers the LGBTQIA+ experience to create a safe, welcoming space for our community. We are excited to invite allies and accomplices to listen, learn, and make and take space with us as we share our joys and the paths we took to get there. 

Q: Is this just for members of the School of Medicine?
No! The gayla originates within the SoM. However, we seek to create spaces of joy for the LGBTQIA+ community across Stanford University. This event welcomes all Stanford affiliates, including but not limited to: individuals from all of our schools/majors, patients, and partners/spouses. The 2023 program will also include voices from across campus and beyond.

Q: Why do some of the stories include experiences of pain, trauma, shame, and/or other difficult topics?
For many of us, finding joy is a difficult process. That struggle can make landing at joy even more beautiful. It also helps us redefine and embrace joy on our own terms. An Evening of Queer Joy celebrates the ups and downs of our individual and collective experiences. These are real stories from our community. You will find that the stories here include moments of laughter and endings of peace, love, and joy. A moment of silence is not planned for this year’s program at this time. As with our 2022 gayla, this year’s program will include trigger warnings before and during the event along with relevant resources for support.  

Q: What are your intended outcomes for the gayla?

  • Increased sense of community amid isolation
  • Creating opportunities for inclusive spaces for intersecting identities
  • Reflective learning with a lasting impact 
  • Benefitting and including the communities in and beyond Stanford
  • Create a lasting impression
  • Develop and celebrate our own definitions of “queer joy”

What is the mission and vision of the gayla?
Mission: An Evening of Queer Joy centers the intersectional queer experience on the full spectrum of pain to joy by creating immersive community spaces, opportunities for authentic expression, and an environment of reflective learning.
Vision: Centering the experiences of intersectional queer pain & queer joy.

Q: What guiding philosophy informs your decisions about the gayla?

  • Queer identities are broad, intersectional, and ever-changing.
  • Queer living is complex, experienced as both isolating and inclusive; sometimes dangerous, sometimes joyful at the same time. Broader society's interaction with queerness is equally complex, covering a spectrum from embracing - performative - tolerant - hateful.
  • We seek to express these identities and complexities via spaces and experiences in which we are centered.
  • We would not be where we are today without conspirators whom: are comfortable with discomfort, actively learn from their mistakes, and understand the work of allyship is never complete.
  • Bringing the entire queer community and their conspirators together is done through active, authentic work, and other-centered, reflective learning.
  • About Us, For Us, By Us

Medium: Telling/showing collective & individual stories

  • Focus: Building spaces of queer joy

Q: What changes can we expect at this year’s gayla?

  • We will host a series of Queer Joy-related events throughout the year. These will be announced at this year’s gayla. 
  • The opening reception will include an exhibit on queer expression and a community art installation to which attendees can contribute. 
  • Built-in conversation starters are included to assist with initial connections.
  • The length of the gayla is extended (7PM) this year, including opportunities for dancing and more time for mingling. 
  • Per recommendation, ace and bisexual experiences will be featured.
  • Speakers will sit among the audience and present at a floor podium/mic for a more “grassroots” feel and to allow for dancing in that section afterward. 
  • The awards and panel segment were removed for a simpler agenda focused on LGBTQIA+ stories and for advocacy updates.

What Our Community is Saying About An Evening of Queer Joy

I would not be surprised if some lives were saved tonight.
It was wonderful to be able to connect with the Stanford community! Thank you for bringing this together and offering it to all communities.
This is the first queer event that welcomed students, postdocs, staff and faculty that I am aware of.
The stories shared were real and inspiring.
It was a beautiful and meaningful event.
This [event] was exceptionally well designed and executed. It encompassed all areas of joy and wellness in bringing the community together. From the pre-event gatherings to the main evening, all spaces provided safety, acceptance, positivity, and encouragement to be exactly who I am without compromise.