As Pride Month comes to an end, Texas McCombs would like to highlight how our Engaged Queer & Ally (eQual) MBAs organization has continued to support the McCombs and Austin communities, share resources and organize exclusively in a digital platform to celebrate Pride this year. Despite being in the middle of a global pandemic, McCombs students continue to stay engaged, as world-changing leaders committed to serving our many diverse communities.
Who are eQual MBAs?
Engaged Queer & Ally (eQual) MBAs, McCombs’ LGBTQ+ affinity group, is dedicated to promoting diversity & inclusion in the @utexasmba program & community at large. Every year, they’re committed to recruiting more LGBTQ+ prospective students, organizing regular events, connecting to alumni, and building relationships with allies and sponsors. Furthermore, through their efforts, eQual MBAs bring forth educational discussions to McCombs about gender and sexuality, advocate for allyship and inclusion, and connect members to the larger Austin LQBTQ+ community. Overall, the group is divided into three different pillars: allyship, alumni, and service.
Aside from being full-time MBA students, everyone involved in the organization has faced additional challenges throughout their eQual MBA journey. Despite being the smallest affinity group at Texas McCombs, they continue to grow. Currently, they hold 14 LGBTQ+ members — a record high for the club – along with many allies as members. 2020-2021 co-presidents Andie Parazo and Matt Mason look forward to continuing to grow membership and offering support and resources to the LGBTQ+ and ally community at McCombs.
The eQual MBAs organization, to me, means having a community that will always be there to support me. The members of eQual are not only the people that I rely on to help organize events for the advancement of queer and all underrepresented people’s rights, but they are also some of my closest friends in the MBA program.
— Matt Mason, eQqual MBAs Co-President, MBA Class of 2021
Allyship, Intersectionality and the Importance of Showing Up
The members of eQual MBAs belong to many other affinity organizations on campus such as the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (CGSM), Latin American and Hispanic MBAs (LAHMBA), Black Graduate Business Association (BGBA), Graduation Women in Business (GWiB), Graduate Business Council (GBC), and multiple fellows programs. Their collective voice and reach helps them prepare diverse programming focused on intersectionality, education and resource-sharing between communities. All of their events are aligned to one or more of their three pillars.
Some of their past events include:
- Co-hosting an interactive session at the Elevate D&I Conference about pronouns
- Netflix watch party, which included viewing and discussion around Paris is Burning
- A prospective student webinar
- Black Lives Matter fundraiser
“McCombs would like to wish you all a happy and safe Pride Month during this June. Based on the events that have transcended over the last couple of months, it’s now more important than ever that we look out for each other and take care of the ones we love. We are encouraged by the strides that the pride community has made towards equality, but realize there is still progress to be made.
If you would like to become more involved with the LGBTQ+ community at McCombs, please reach out to our pride organization at eQualMBAs@mccombs.utexas.edu. Happy Pride! #LoveIsLove #AllBlackLivesMatter #Equality #hookem”
— eQual MBAs via Instagram @equalmbas
- Virtual Drag Brunch in collaboration with Graduate Women in Business
- An admitted students event in July
- Co-hosting an interactive session at the 2021 Elevate Conference
- An alumni panel, alumni happy hour and brunch
- A pronoun workshop alongside other student organizations
- Holigays Event and a Scavenger Hunt, if social distancing allows, around November aiming to bring together the community and educate allies
What’s it like to be LGBTQ+ in Austin?
Here are some student’s perspectives on their experiences as LGBTQ+ people in Austin, Texas.
Austin has been extremely welcoming for me as an LGBTQ+ person. I have several friends who play Gay Kickball or attend Lesbian Board Game nights. When I first moved to Austin the very first thing I did was get on a party bus and go to Deep Eddy’s for a drag bingo event. In many ways it has been more difficult for me to find the authentic Asian foods I grew up on than to find an LGBTQ+ community.
— Kat Ho, Texas McCombs MBA Class of 2021
This is a tough question, because my overwhelmingly positive experience with the LGBTQ+ community in Austin has occurred as a direct result from my privilege. I can pass as both straight and white, so I have the privilege of being able to participate in the LGBTQ+ and non-queer community when I want, and I’ve been accepted into both. But for many queer people, they don’t have that kind of privilege, so part of my responsibility as a queer person with privilege is to do everything that I can to make all spaces safe for my queer friends who don’t have my privilege and work towards creating an Austin that’s safe for all.
—Matt Mason, Texas McCombs MBA Class of 2021
Staying Informed & Getting Involved
Now more than ever, it’s important to stay informed and make an effort to educate yourself on a diverse number of issues and perspectives — especially if they differ from your life experience or perspective. Several members of eQual have gathered resources they think would be helpful for anyone looking to be an ally or learn more about the LGBTQ community. Check them out below:
- Talk to queer friends. Learn about their experience being queer, and what being an ally for them means.
- Read from LGBTQ+ authors of color like Audre Lorde and Nicole Dennis-Benn.
- Movies to watch:
- Paris is Burning
- Love, Simon
“Currently, I am reading a lot from LGBTQ+ POC like Audre Lorde and Nicole Dennis-Benn,” says Kat Ho. “For general information about LGBTQ+ communities, I would suggest the local non-profits. In Austin, there are some great groups like Out Youth that focus on giving LGBTQ+ a supportive network and community.”
Currently, you can sign up for a custom eQual MBAs T-shirt, with all proceeds going to eQual MBAs regular programming, building their alumni database, fundraising for charity, and hosting educational and networking events for the LGBTQ+ McCombs and Austin community. They’re not currently delivering out of the city, but you can sign up here to get your T-shirt to pick up in the Austin area.
Hook ’em and Happy Pride Month!