VP Michaela Gill Publishes in FRANKly
FRANKFURT, GERMANY // September 2018 - The German Fulbright alumni association, Fulbright Alumni e.V., featured an article by Prism Vice President Michaela Gill in the 2018 issue of its FRANKly newsletter. In “Queer in the Classroom: Navigating Identity as an ETA in Hamburg” Gill explains some of the unique challenges LGBTQ ETAs may face while on their grant and the impetus behind Prism. When students asked if she had a boyfriend, for example, Gill writes that, “I froze for a moment. I did not. I did, however, have a girlfriend. Just a moment earlier I had been so ready to answer their questions. Now I felt my chest tighten and my neck and face break out in bright pink blotches.” She writes that she would come to regret not telling the class about her girlfriend, viewing it as an omission of truth that could have helped the LGBTQ students in the room.
Outside the classroom, Gill explains that her fellow Fulbrighters provided her a place to reflect and grow from these experiences. “We flocked to each other, with varying levels of consciousness, and created a community of our own,” she wrote. “Together we cooked weekly dinners, during which we would talk about everything – politics, our students and coworkers, our families, and what we missed while living abroad. Each of us expressed a desire to tap into Hamburg’s queer culture and perhaps volunteer with a local LGBTQ group.”
Tapping into the queer scene, however, was harder for the Fulbrighters than they expected. Looking back, Gill realized, “Although it was small, we had a Fulbright network that could understand the unique struggles we faced as queer people living and working abroad. For most Fulbrighters, however, that network did not, and does not yet, exist.” It was this void that the three sought to fill with Fulbright Prism. “I hope that with Fulbright Prism,” Gill concludes, “my friends and I can prepare thousands of future role models for full, authentic lives across the globe. I want to stand in solidarity with my LGBTQ Fulbright family, pointing our fingers to the sky, ready to change the world.”