Lavender Graduation Speeches |May 4, 2016


At Lavender Graduation, we were treated to speeches from our two graduating student staff. After repeated requests, we are publishing transcripts of their speeches below:

Kira Kiko Lian

Dear University, 

Hi. It’s me, Kira Kiko. I'm graduating.  

I’m sure that makes you happy, it makes me happy too. I'll be honest though I have some conflicting feelings about my departure. A great deal has happened in the past five years I've been here, and this past week or so is not an exception:  the article that went out today that I resonated with quite strongly. And there is of course this honorary degree.

Events that are not isolated, if anything these are events that make up an identifiable pattern. In this pattern I've felt as a queer and trans person pushed over, knocked down—and you as the offender every time of course apologize, and too quickly dislodge the offense reminding me that it was an accident. 

As valid as this may be; the ability to explain your behavior doesn't excuse it, and there are only so many accidents I can tolerate before believing that they will continue more often than not.  

I've committed a great deal of time and energy, and money I don't have to be here. I've had the most difficult and most rewarding experiences of my life here. 

I have maintained a job for two years here that I look forward to greeting every day. I have a better boss and coworkers than I'd ever imagined and may ever have in the future. 

The students here deserve 10 times over the work we at the LGBT Resource Center do for them, and we do not deserve to be the too few people doing that work.  

So on one hand it's with you I've discovered the best parts of myself, and on the other you don't care enough invest in them. 

Five years is no doubt the blink of an eye for you. For me however it's a fifth of how much I've lived. This may explain why you insist on comparing yourself to what you were, and I insist on comparing you to what you should be, what we I deserve.

And I'd like to leave you on a note that doesn't leave me with any resentment, nor false any false benevolence. So I've decided to write you this lust letter of seduction, as inspired by Dr. Stockton's idea of seduction. In other words, what we, together could be. Not on behalf of all queer and trans people, but on behalf of myself, as a queer and trans person I am writing you.

Now that I've been tripped and pulled back up with you time and time again I want to communicate some clear boundaries, and I also would like to seduce you with the carnal knowledge that your life is better with me in it. When you tell me how you're okay with the fact that I'm queer or trans I'd invite you to disabuse yourself from the notion that  I'm asking permission. And also...

Do you know who I am? You think I haven't noticed your stolen glances that linger more and more each day? You don't think I'm aware of your burning curiosity to know what you’d feel as I enter your senses? Do you really believe in the scent of your fear I can't taste your bashful desire?

I know you fantasize what it might be like for me, for us, to thrust our queer persuasion into your tightly wound administrative assets.

Well I'll tell you. If I were to make love to you, ask anyone. I would plant a love inside you so deep, so, satisfying, that together we could all but pervade the boundaries of fiction and perfection. 

As I whisper infinity softly into your ear your breath will get heavy, and your body will be ready, inviting me to guide you into discovering the future. As I wet my palm and reach for your respectability politics to cast them aside you'll be able to love me in the way that I deserve.

You will love as you've never loved before. In loving us this deeply you will become us, you will become, queer. And once you are queer you can join us on the parallels of binary where the grass really is greener, watered each day with the tears of white feminists. 

When you've come to this field your queer and trans siblings will greet you in a kingdom without kings.  

In this kingdom you’ll find a palace so magnetically margin-to-center, so inexorably intersectional, so erotically equitable that like every living person here you will find a throne for your soul. A throne saddled on a sensuous sex pistol aimed at the edges of the impossible.

Doesn't that sound nice? If not, and this is a little too intense for your budding queerdom may I present the bleaker, but more realistic alternative: this world is changing quicker and quicker. And if you don't change with it you will be as obsolete as a gender-segregated restroom.

But why change for us when you could change for yourself? You say you’re straight but so is spaghetti when it's hot, and it taste much better hot. Accept our invitation to flirt with the future, but first you must undress yourself from your cis-hetero sensibilities. Because we are the future, and the future is too hot to be wearing those.


alithia skye zamantakis

So I just wanna say that I’m probably going to cry, which is okay. Crying is fine and beautiful and necessary. But it’s also really hard to talk while crying so I might have to take a breath every once in a while to keep myself going.

Sometimes I want to run my hands through my shit,

let it’s deep browns

and twisting lumps drip through my fingers,

feel it’s soft slime hug and pull

at my skin and heart.


I want to celebrate the beauty of surviving,

of another day of shitting;

the food that crept into my mouth,

traveled slowly down twists and

turns and bumps and stops,

changing, decaying, making

me and this and all of its…my…our



I want its ribbons and strings to

wrap around my hands,

keep a piece of it with me,

remembering it when i feel my

blood coil in and out of veins and arteries,

remember the potential of my body,

remember the beauty of this universe and all its shit.

 As a kid, my dad always told me, the only thing that remains certain in life is family; that everything else is just shit: friends, chosen family, etc. But it’s in these pieces of shit I call family that I have found a home. Ella, Kiko, Kai, and Whit who I work with in the LGBT RC and who I spend moments outside of work talking, drinking matcha tea, laughing, loving, and paintballing with. My dog ToTo who was brought to me and I to them by something sacred and holy that knew we could care for each other in ways that others would not and could not. Margarita RH and Roger QM who make up my family-in-love and who never fail to be there for me. And most of all, my mom, who I see more of in myself every day. She’s technically my given family, but blood has little to do with the amount of love I have for her or the relationship we have. She has taught me the beauty of sacrifice, what it means to love someone and what it looks like to fight for them. She is my femme-spiration and the voice behind my perseverance in school and in this world. And in this moment of congratulations, love yous, and goodbyes, I don’t have the energy to recall every incident of pain or hurt this university and this world has caused me. But I want nothing less than to celebrate the people in my life who helped me get here, every moment we spent together, and all of our shit, no matter how foul.

 So congratulations to all of the graduates and the people who got you here. Thank you.