By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
The summer of 2005 will see big changes for three area LGBT organizations. Two groups, Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center and the American Friends Service Committees’ LGBT Issues program, are losing important team members. Meanwhile, the University of Michigan’s LGBT Affairs office has hired two new people, one of whom is a UofM graduate.
As reported last week, Michael Larson, Affirmations’ program director, has decided to leave after five years of service.
Larson is unclear about his future plans. “I’m going to ease out, take a little hiatus if I can get it, and work on a couple of different things I’ve been playing with,” he said, adding that he and his partner had not finished discussing options.
Larson expressed gratitude about his work with Affirmations. “It’s been an honor serving the community and being in a position to be able to help people,” he said. “I’ve been able to work with some great folks at Affirmations and to be a part of the center’s growth, and I’ve felt supported by the community.” Larson plans to stay in Michigan.
Michael Gibson-Faith, the director of AFSC’s LGBT Issues program for three years, will also be making a career transition this summer. According to Gibson-Faith, he and the AFSC are still discussing his departure date.
Gibson-Faith, like Larson, has loved his work on behalf of the LGBT community.
“I loved it,” he said of his work with the AFSC. “It’s been a really positive experience….I’m looking forward to passing on a healthy program to the next person and watching the Faith Action Network continue to grow and thrive in Michigan.”
Gibson-Faith said that he plans to make activism a central part of his future plans.
“I want to work for the progressive movement, whether that’s LGBT or choice or a campaign. I’m just doing some searching at the moment,” he said. Gibson-Faith is unsure if he will be staying in Michigan.
Over at UofM, the Office of LGBT Affairs is preparing to welcome Jennifer Almquist and Julica Hermann aboard.
Almquist, a Master’s graduate of Oregon State University, will become the office’s assistant director for LGBT affairs with an emphasis on community development. Almquist has been serving as interim programs coordinator and will begin her new position July 5.
Hermann, a University of Michigan graduate, has taken the position of assistant director for LGBT Affairs with an emphasis on educational outreach and training. While a student at UofM, Hermann served as an MSW intern in the office, where she developed a training manual called “Out Making a Difference.” Hermann will begin her new position July 11.