QLHE: Supporting LGBTQ Community Members

Friends Association for Higher Education’s Quaker Leadings in Higher Education series presented:

Supporting LGBTQ Community Members:
Finding “that of God” within trans and LGBQ students and faculty

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Petra Doan. Ph.D.
Professor & PhD Program Director
Department of Urban & Regional Planning
College of Social Sciences & Public Policy
Florida State University

David R. Ross
Research Professor
Department of Economics
Bryn Mawr College

Petra Doan struggled for many years to come to terms with her transgender identity and learned finally to “sink down to the seed which God sows in the heart” (Isaac Penington, 1661 as quoted in Britain Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice, Chapter 26, 70). In this even, she shares some powerful insights that she received on her journey towards wholeness that enabled her to become a visible presence and respected advocate for LGBTQ students and faculty. Her talk provides suggestions gleaned from more than 20 years of being an “out” faculty member, advisor to the Pride Student Union, and board member for the Safe Zone Program at FSU. Her insights are intended to empower faculty to take steps to make their campuses safer as well as more welcoming places for trans, gender non-conforming, and other queer individuals.


Petra Doan joined the Society of Friends in 1972 while a student at Westtown School. At Haverford College she helped revive the Quaker Activities Committee (QUAC) and majored in philosophy. After serving two years in the US Peace Corps in Togo as a rural development construction volunteer, she began graduate study at Cornell University in International Development Planning. She received an M.R.P. and a Ph.D. in that area. In 1989 she joined the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University and also moved her membership to Tallahassee Monthly Meeting where she remains a member in good standing. In 1998 she came out to her faculty colleagues as a transgender woman and since that time has also transitioned her research and service commitments. She conducts research on planning issues surrounding the LGBTQ community, especially the consequences of highly gendered urban environments for vulnerable populations, such as trans and gender non-conforming individuals. She has edited two books: Queerying Planning: Challenging Heteronormative Assumptions and Reframing Planning Practice published in 2011 by Ashgate and Planning and LGBTQ Communities: the Need for Inclusive Queer Space published by Routledge in 2015 and contributed numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and chapters in a wide variety of volumes. She has had leadership roles in a variety of organizations, including serving as co-clerk of Friends for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Concerns, national board service for the American Friends Service Committee as well as Statewide board of Equality Florida. Within the academic planning community she co-founded Inclusion an interest group of LGBTQ planning faculty and was elected President of the Faculty Women’s Interest Group (FWIG) from 2017-2019

Here is a link to a video of this event and other supporting materials.

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