LGBTQIA2S+ award recipients announced

The President’s Commission on Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation (GIESO), in partnership with the Student Financial Services office, has named a recipient of the LGBTQIA2S+ Student Scholarship. The Commission has also announced the recipient of the LGBTQIA2S+ Faculty/Staff Distinguished Achievement Award for their dedication to the community.

Chris Dickey (they/them) is the LGBTQIA2S+ Faculty/Staff Distinguished Achievement Awardee. Dickey is an assistant professor of Tuba and Euphonium in WSU’s School of Music. Dickey’s involvement in the LGBTQIA2S+ community, especially under the lens of academia and education, is well-noted. They have been invited to host numerous presentations — regionally, nationally, and internationally – to discuss LGBTQ+ inclusion for educators. They also created a new UCORE diversity course titled LGBTQ+ Perspectives in Music, which has added to music and diversity education both in and outside of WSU.

As a musician, creativity is also an indispensable part of their identity, which intersects with their identity as a member of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Dickey has commissioned and performed multiple new pieces by queer-identifying composers during their time working as a musician and educator. Dickey is a past chair of GIESO, and remains committed to the WSU LGBTQIA2S+ community, as well as the larger global community.

Zayleigh Plymate (she/her) received the LGBTQIA2S+ Student Scholarship for her dedication to her local and greater global LGBTQIA2S+ communities. Plymate is an outspoken advocate for LGBTQIA2S+ rights and uses her diverse background to bridge gaps and help people learn about misconceptions facing the community. She detailed several examples of this in her application. One notable example took place at an event, during which Plymate faced criticism about her sexual identity from a religious presenter. She used her knowledge of the religion’s scripture and her own experience to foster a conversation about identifying as LGBTQIA2S+ under the umbrella of that religion.

Not all situations allow for conversation – such as a pride parade Zayleigh Plymate attended that turned hateful. However, even in those instances, she wears her colors proudly. “I chose to raise my poster and chant louder,” Plymate said. “They are not going to silence us; and they will not harm us.”

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