Hello and welcome to another week of AEA 365 focused on LGBTQ+ Evaluation! We are Dylan Felt (she/her), Alex Bauer (she/her), Esrea Perez-Bill (she/they), and Amy Lippincott (she/her), and we are the newly elected LGBT TIG leadership team of TIG Co-Chairs (Dylan and Alex) and Co-Program Chairs (Esrea and Amy). We wanted to start this week off by introducing ourselves, sharing our vision for the TIG, thinking about the role of LGBTQ+ Evaluation in AEA (and beyond), and inviting all of you, readers, to get involved with us!
The last couple of years have brought big changes for LGBTQ+ Evaluation. The work that LGBTQ+ evaluators do, and the distinct and powerful lenses we bring to that work, have started to receive more mainstream attention at conferences, in AEA journals, and in professional development offerings. Considering LGBTQ+ experience in evaluation has become more commonly accepted as relevant and important. We’re grateful and excited about these developments.
At the same time, these have been big years for LGBTQ+ communities in the U.S., too, though not in the same positive ways. Anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment is on the rise, as is the willingness of the state to weaponize its power to codify these stigmas into law. In Indiana, where this year’s AEA conference will be held, this legislative session has seen a record number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills filed, and a ban on gender-affirming healthcare for minors has been signed into law. We feel a responsibility as evaluators and, more importantly, as people, to consider how our work can either contribute to these harms, or work to counteract and address them.
Our TIG, like LGBTQ+ Evaluation, like queerness, like transness, has never been just one thing. Since its inception, it has been both a space for those who do evaluation with LGBTQ+ communities, and a home for queer and trans evaluators seeking community and solidarity. In our current cultural context, however, we feel a personal compulsion to continue to grow.
So this year, we’ve decided it’s time for the TIG to reimagine itself. This month, we’ll be kicking off a strategic planning journey with any and all interested TIG members and LGBTQ+ evaluators in AEA that seeks to re-envision what our TIG is, and what it can be. From our name to our mission statement, from the events we host to the conference submissions we sponsor, we want to think bigger, together, about what our TIG can be. If you’d like to be part of that process, whether you’ve been a member of our TIG before or not, we’d love your help. All those interested in seeing AEA become a place where LGBTQ+ life is celebrated and protected are welcome to join. Please reach out to us at email@example.com.
We’re also sharing a letter we’ve written to the AEA board, asking for our organization to tangibly demonstrate its solidarity with Indiana’s trans and queer communities as we prepare for this year’s Evaluation 2023 conference. It will be emailed to them today, shortly after this article goes live. You can read it here. We welcome you to share it as you see fit.
We look forward to our time serving this TIG, and to the opportunities to work together with many of you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We’re always happy to talk.
Dylan, Alex, Esrea, and Amy
The American Evaluation Association is hosting LGBT Issues TIG Week with our colleagues in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Issues Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to AEA365 come from our LGBT TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this AEA365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the AEA365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an AEA365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to AEA365@eval.org. AEA365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.