SIVAGAMI SUBBARAMAN - Special Assistant to the VP of Student Affairs & Director, LGBTQ resource center
Sivagami (“Shiva”) Subbaraman is the first Director of the LGBTQ Resource Center, one of the first institutionally funded Centers in a Jesuit university in the country. Since she came on board in the Fall of 2008, she has worked to establish the Center as an integral and integrated part of the Hilltop community by building across differing communities and groups. We seek to align the work of the Center with institutional mission, identity, and values. The Center now offers a full range of intersectional student- centered academic programming, support services, educational programs, and seminars and workshops.
In partnership with colleagues, she has envisioned and created a retreat program, Journeys: Understanding Self & Building Community, which builds on Jesuit educational values centered around reflection and community.
Under her leadership, the Center was honored to receive an one million dollar endowment from Paul & Chan Tagliabue that has established the The Tagliabue Initiative for LGBTQ Life: Fostering Formation & Transformation (“Initiative”). This is a significant endorsement of the educational value and scope of the work, and is one of the largest for any LGBTQ Center in the country.
The Tagliabue Initiative has now made possible a Faculty Research Award to support academic work related to LGBTQ life (https://lgbtq.georgetown.edu/tagliabue-initiative/facultyaward); works with campus-wide initiatives to promote, enhance, and deepen our understanding of LGBTQ issues in the context of larger diversity issues. We have also created a new year-long Institute/Seminar for LGBTQ students, Gatherings: Towards Flourishing, Formation, & Transformation.
Shiva serves on several key campus committees, including the LGBT Campus Committee, the Safety Net, Women's & Gender Studies Steering Committee, the Sexual Assault Working Group, the Disability Justice Working Group, committee on A Different Dialogue and the Provost’s committee on Diversity among several others.
Prior to Georgetown, she worked at the University of Maryland, at the LGBT Equity Center, and the Office of Human Relations Programs (now Office of Diversity Education). While there, Shiva co-developed and implemented the Rainbow Terrapin Training program, and the LGBT Peer Education program. She also worked extensively with the Words of Engagement: an Intergroup Dialogue program. Shiva worked on the two-year Ford Foundation funded INTERACT (Intergroup Dialogue as Pedagogy Across the Curriculum) project which integrates dialogues in curricula.
She has taught at Macalester College, Drake University, and University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Her primary areas of research are African American & American literature, feminist, and queer literature and theories.
She has keynoted and presented at several national conferences (ACPA, NASPA, JASPA, Expanding the Circle, Creating Change), on social and racial justice, LGBTQ and faith, and race and gender. She has presented several day-long institutes, colloquia, and seminars on how to envision and implement LGBTQ work that is intersectional; how to do LGBTQ work in faith-based institutions with creativity and sensitivity; and to create campus-wide templates for work that is centered on race, gender, class, and equity. She has been invited to several campuses in a consulting and advisory capacity.
She is a feminist activist and serves on the board of several local community organizations. In her varied career, she is most happy to report that she also managed a coffee shop for several years that allowed her to continue her scholarship in a way that being an adjunct professor could not. She has also realized, much to her consternation, that there lurks "a geek" in her humanities soul.
More on her work
- Interview: Diversity and Inclusion Even When Contradictions Abound
- Interview with Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs
- “In Dreams Begins Responsibility: Doing LGBTQ Work in Jesuit Higher Education”
- Award for Intersectionality in Higher Education LGBTQ Services
- Queer Ragas: Coming Out, Coming Together
- Cataloging Ethnicity: Clothing as Cultural Citizenship
- Faith, Diversity, & Sexual Orientation
Key Conference Presentations
Bio: Alexander is a second year graduate student from West Palm Beach Florida, studying Conflict resolution at the graduate school of arts and sciences. Alex is focused on domestic issues in relation to LGBTQ+ and POC communities, in his free time Alex plays for the DCDD symphonic band and spends plenty of time with his dog Remy.
Passions: language learning, social justice, playing the ukulele, & whale-watching
Bio: Macky is a junior in the college studying Government and Linguistics. She hails from Hampton, Virginia, where she spent her childhood as a competitive gymnast and youth council member for her city’s government. Macky is also a policy chair for GUSA and on the executive board of QPOC. In her free time she can be found watching old Hollywood movies and I Love Lucy or jamming to Broadway musical soundtracks.
Fun fact: Macky has a symbolically adopted blue whale named Mallory
Bio: A junior in the School of Foreign Service, Teak is majoring in Culture and Politics with a focus on International Human Rights. Outside of the Center, Teak is on the board of the NAACP, sits on the WERC Summit Committee, and tutors for the Prison Outreach Program, yet plans to increase his involvement as the years progress. Originally from San Diego, California, Teak has embraced the newness of D.C and plans to experience all it has to offer.
Bio: Haley is a junior in the college double-majoring in Anthropology in Justice and Peace Studies, and minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies. She was born and raised in North Carolina, and though she loves going home, her favorite part of N.C. is the Outer Banks. She is in Georgetown Superfood, a co-ed a cappella group on campus, and if you come by the center while she’s working, she’ll probably be playing good music!
Bio: Tyler is a sophomore in the college double-majoring in Sociology and Fine Art. They proudly identify as both queer and nonbinary and use they/them pronouns. Tyler is from Demarest, New Jersey. Though they aren’t a big fan of New Jersey, they love being so close to New York, where they spend a lot of their free time wandering around, taking photos and thrifting! Tyler is a passionate activist and artist- when they aren’t in class or working in the center, they are probably listening to music and making art!
Bio: Andrea is a sophomore in the College, unsure about a her major but minoring in Theology. She is a proud Latina from Los Angeles who is always willing to talk about LA or Mexican food and culture. Andrea is also a proud dog lover and enjoys seeing pictures of all kinds of dogs! On campus, she tries to stay active through the Boxing Club and is looking forward most to Queer Kitchen because she loves to cook and enjoys the community aspect.
Bio: A first-year student in the College, Paneez is hoping to major in Government and Psychology with minors in Business Administration and Justice and Peace Studies. She was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is in love with the world of law! Consequently, outside of the Center, Paneez loves to debate at GU Moot Court, Mock Trial, Parliamentary Debate, and the Philodemic Society when she's not stargazing with the Astronomical Society or gardening with GREEN.
Fun Fact: Paneez loves to read, and her current favorite author is Dostoevsky.
Bio: Ben is a freshman from Nashua, New Hampshireplanning on studying Government in the College. Along with working in the LGBTQ Resource Center, he is a member of the Pep Band and the College Democrats. In his free time, he enjoys playing piano, finding good vegetarian food, and talking about New Hampshire.
Bio: Oscar (he/him/his) is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service majoring in Culture and Politics. A Los Angeles native, Oscar loves hiking, kayaking, and window-shopping. On campus, you can find him helping out with Georgetown’s beehives as a part of Hoya Hive or trying out new foods with his J-Net “family”.
Like many LGBTQ Centers, we grew out of individuals dedicated to serving our LGBTQ students' needs. Prior to 2003, members of our long-standing LGBT Working Group, worked with individual students as needs arose. From 2003, Chuck Van Sant in Student Affairs served as a half-time interim coordinator for LGBTQ Community Resources; and Bill McCoy served in a dual position from 2004-2008 as Coordinator of LGBTQ Community Resources and Assistant Director of Student Organizations. The creation of the Center as a standalone department in the Division of Student Affairs, with full institutional funding and support, and two full time professional staff serving the needs of students, staff, faculty, and alumni was uniquely structured to be thoughtful regarding Georgetown's Jesuit and Catholic Identity. The LGBTQ Resource Center officially opened its doors in this latest incarnation on August 26, 2008. The first director of the Resource Center, Sivagami Subbaraman, still holds the position today.
- Matt LeBlanc held the position of Program Coordinator from 2009 to 2013
- Bridget Sherry Laizer served as Special Projects Coordinator from 2013 to 2014
- Julian Haas served as Assistant Director from 2014 to 2018