Beyond the Usual, Passive DEI Efforts in Tech

Blog: Friends and Allies of LGBTQ @ TMCC

Manny Becerra as a child

September 2008

I'm proud to share that I'm co-chairing a relatively new and inclusive-oriented initiative at TMCC we're calling: Friends and Allies of LGBTQ.

A few months ago, I met with my esteemed colleague and friend, Dr. Carlos Romo, who, at the time, was TMCC's Director of Diversity and Equity. During our meeting, Dr. Romo, asked if I would be interested in helping carry on an initiative at the college he recently kicked-off, and after his scheduled retirement came to pass. Since the initiaive is focused on centering marginalized individuals and communities in higher education, and exploring ways to offer educational training to faculty, staff and students with the intent of creating a more inclusive environment on campus, I gladly accepted.

In fact, Dr. Melanie Purdy from counseling and I are co-leading the initiative, which I'm very excited about!

Creating a safe & inclusive learning environment... for everyone!

I believe the work driving Friends and Allies is critical and valuable in intentionally evolving TMCC's community toward a more safe, equitable, and enjoyable learning—and teaching!—environment for everyone. Given that, I'm excited to have the opportunity to co-lead this initiative and eventually collaborate with our siblings at the University of Nevada-Reno on something similar on their campus, along with working with other individuals and groups in the Truckee Meadows region.

Groundwork is underway

In the first several months since meeting with Dr. Romo, and taking a Safe Zone training, we've already established the following groundwork for the initiative:

  • Created a website under our college's main Web presence,, that in addition to who and what our initiative is about, includes community resources available to individuals, terms & definitions, how to become an Ally on campus, myth busters, and how to request a Safe Zone training
  • Had a logo created that we'll use as a part of our Ally, Advocate, and Safe Zone components, in addition to supporting the group's awareness efforts
  • Created an email list for the initiative for interested faculty, staff & students to join and stay in contact
  • Promotion of Safe Zone trainings to faculty, staff, and students; including, HR, Faculty Senate, and the student government

For you, my blog reader, I'll leave you with a prompt or challenge we put forth to our attendees at the end of our Safe Zone trainings:

If people jump to the conclusion that you are LGBTQ because of your friendships or because you are reading LGBTQ publications or because you are being affectionate with someone of the same gender, resist your impulse to deny it. Challenge yourself to experience LGBTQ oppression rather than taking advantage of heterosexual privilege.

Manny Becerra as a child

I operate from a place of compassion, possibility and imagination. My work and efforts share a common goal: create a better, sustainable and equitable world by building inclusive communities, products & experiences.