Hi friends and welcome first-years! I’m Sunny Frothingham, native Durhamite, BDU Outreach Chair, Public Policy/Women’s Studies Double Major, and Ally!
For me, being an ally means I am dedicated to personally supporting as well as publically advocating alongside people who face social, institutional, economic, and legal discrimination because of their sexual orientation and/ or gender identity. Of course, Allyship can be expressed in a variety of ways and mean different things to different people, but there’s no doubt that it is fundamental to making Duke a better place.
When I came to campus, most of my engagement with LGBT issues and community was with a few friends who came out in high school and my denomination’s struggle with the decision to allow the ordination of openly lesbian and gay ministers. I first got involved with advocacy though efforts to expand Duke’s Gender Neutral Housing options. My first year here Gender Neutral Housing was strictly limited to certain parts of Central Campus, but through partnerships, research, advocacy, and a whole lot of navigating bureaucracy, my work alongside other campus advocates was successful in ensuring the availability of Gender Neutral Housing on West Campus this year.
My experience working on Gender Neutral Housing Policy (which I’ll be writing a thesis on this year, YAY) was an extremely formative experience for me, and really sparked my interest in doing more about legal and institutional discrimination. This summer I learned a ton working in the LGBT Policy Department of a think tank in D.C., where I got to research and write about all kinds of policies that disparately impact LGBT people (including, but so much more than marriage).
I’m excited to bring my allyship to the BDU executive board this year, but even if you aren’t interested in the leadership or policy sides of things there are a million ways to make a positive impact here—like educating yourself, being conscious of gendered language and pronouns, hanging a Pride Flag, marching in the Parade, helping with the Drag Show, coming to the Center, and joining BDU. I can’t wait to meet you!