OUTList fosters visibility, connectivity in LGBT community

Online list launched one year ago on National Coming Out Day

In October 2011, Johns Hopkins University launched the OUTList, a user-driven online list of university faculty, staff, students, fellows and alumni who voluntarily identify themselves as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

A year later, there are 79 names on the list, though it was never about numbers.

Rather, it is designed to help foster a sense of visibility and connectivity among members of the LGBT community at Johns Hopkins, said Chris Beyrer, a professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and one of the first people to add his name to the list.

By that measure, he says, the OUTList has been a success.

"I've certainly had, especially in the initial period after the launch of the list, several folks reach out to me, people who were previously hidden or isolated and wanting to connect," said Beyrer, who directs the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights and the Johns Hopkins Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program. "That's a good thing."

The OUTList website was championed by Sarah Clever, assistant dean for student affairs at the School of Medicine. The effort received support from other groups, including the university's central administration and the Gertrude Stein Society, an organization for lesbian, gay and bisexual members of the Johns Hopkins medical institutions.

"A lot of people have expressed to me how good it feels to be part of an institution that supports an effort like this one," Clever said.

"This isn't just about acceptance and tolerance," she added. "This is about welcoming and embrace. It's about saying, 'We want you here and we welcome you.'"

The OUTList lists names alphabetically with the person's title and university affiliation, and is organized into four categories: faculty and academic; students, residents, postdocs and fellows; staff; and alumni. It was launched on Oct. 11, 2011, a date that coincided with National Coming Out Day.

To view the Johns Hopkins OUTList, or to join, visit http://web.jhu.edu/outlist. Users must provide a valid JHU email address and JHED password.

Posted in University News

Tagged lgbtq life