Rae-Anne Montague, assistant dean for student affairs at GSLIS, has been named the February 2012 Ally of the Month by the SODA Committee of the Counseling Center, the LGBT Ally Network, and the LGBT Resource Center on campus. Upon announcing the honor, the SODA Committee shared the following interview with Montague:
On behalf of the SODA Committee of the Counseling Center, the LGBT Ally Network, and the LGBT Resource Center, we would like to congratulate Rae Montague as our February 2012 Ally of the Month! Rae, we thank you publicly for your contributions, wisdom, knowledge, and experiences, and we value and appreciate all the work you do in and around the LGBTQ community at the University of Illinois.
Here is an excerpt from Rae’s nomination: “Rae has followed in the footsteps of her predecessor, Curt McKay, in helping to make GSLIS a welcoming and safe space for our GLBT students, faculty, and staff. She is an inspiration to me and many others who are straight allies because Rae is always reaching out to people. She's warm and friendly and amazingly calm in stressful situations. I know Rae has worked with the Ally Network and is involved with campus outreach… her interest in helping is not limited to just our department. She cares deeply for all people."
And now we present to you an interview with Rae Montague. . .
What department(s) do you work out of on campus, and who do you primarily work with (students, faculty, staff)?
I work as Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS). I work primarily with students, but interact with many people at UIUC and off campus, including LEEP (online education) students.
How long have you identified as an LGBTQ ally?
Since I was young--upon encountering homophobia. I joined the campus ally network as a graduate student.
What are the everyday ways you practice being an ally?
I appreciate people and their stories. In times of difficulty, I try to help. I participate in and sometimes (co-)lead activities aimed at sharing lgbtq awesomeness and promoting human rights.
Can you share a favorite memory of being an LGBTQ ally?
I'm impressed by the range of lgbtq initiatives on campus. I'm inspired most by those that are student-led--from small gatherings to big events like the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference (MBLGTACC). I enjoyed volunteering at the conference when it was hosted here in 2008.
What advice would you give to newly identified LGBTQ allies?
Take advantage of programs offered through the LGBT Resource Center. Keep learning. Enjoy some good books--like those on the American Library Association Over the Rainbow list:http://www.glbtrt.ala.org/overtherainbow/archives/342
Congratulations and thanks again to Rae!