This month, Virginia Tech is slated to open Lavender House, an academic residential space for students who identify as members or allies of the LGBTQ+ community. The is the school’s first living-learning community (LLC) for students who want to study queer history.
The house will house 41 students in double-occupancy rooms. Students of all majors can be residents. Residents will be required to take a three-credit introductory course on queer studies.
“A living-learning community provides LGBTQ+ students a safe space to call home and to live fully and authentically as who they are,” said Dr. Shane Windmeyer, founder of LGBTQ+ nonprofit Campus Pride. “Campuses that create these inclusive living options are ensuring that LGBTQ+ student safety is a priority inside and outside the classroom.”
The house’s ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Oct. 14 during homecoming weekend.
Dr. Ashleigh “Bing” Bingham, director of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center at Virginia Tech and adviser of HokiePRIDE, said she wanted the name to be obvious for students searching for queer community, but not so obvious as to immediately out someone.
In the 1920s, lesbians often wore sprigs of lavender and violets to symbolize love for other women. Oscar Wilde used the phrase “purple hour” to describe love among gay men.