Q&A: Allyson DeMaagd on Pride, allyship, new LGBTQ+ programs

Experiencing injustice fueled TU鈥檚 sexuality and gender diversity coordinator to help others find inclusion and belonging

By Pamela Gorsuch on June 3, 2024

allyson demaagd
Allyson DeMaagd became TU's sexuality and gender diversity coordinator in December 2023. (Alex Wright | Towson University)

When it comes to gendered workplaces, Allyson DeMaagd has experienced the full spectrum. She transcribed top-secret communications as an Air Force sergeant, wrote a doctoral dissertation on modernist women writers and taught women鈥檚 and gender studies at 麻豆传媒高清 in Indiana and West Virginia. The pandemic inspired her to shift careers toward nonprofit support for youth mentorship and success. In December she joined TU as the Center for Student Diversity鈥檚 sexuality and gender diversity coordinator, where she develops programming to support TU鈥檚 women and LGBTQ+ populations. Below, DeMaagd shares the injustice that inspired her work with the LGBTQ+ community and the parade that combines joyous celebration, activism and remembrance.
What interested you in this work?

I served in the military during don鈥檛 ask, don鈥檛 tell. I was a teenager discovering my queerness for the first time, experiencing all these emotions, and I wasn鈥檛 allowed to talk about any of it鈥攍et alone live openly. That injustice motivated me to identify other injustices and take steps to create change.
How did you come to TU?

I feel like a college campus is where I belong and where I can do my best work. At a time when a lot of organizations are getting rid of diversity programming, TU is dedicating itself to doing more and being better. That was a big draw. I鈥檓 very proud to hold this space and support so many students, faculty and staff in our community.
June is Pride Month. What is the importance of Pride and how is TU celebrating?

Pride creates space for people to come together and express themselves authentically. It鈥檚 also a way to honor the LGBTQ+ activists who fought鈥攁nd sometimes died鈥攕o others could live and love more freely. The include a big festival and a celebratory parade where we march for the past, present and future: We鈥檙e walking for the people who came before us; we鈥檙e walking to celebrate ourselves living fully in the present; and we鈥檙e walking to encourage the next generation to live even more loudly and proudly.

2024 Pride Events

Join TU at Baltimore Pride:

Pride Parade, June 15, 1 to 3 p.m. 鈥 Join TU students, faculty and staff to march in honor and celebration. Registration is available for the and . The parade will culminate in a block party from 3 to 9 p.m.

Pride in the Park, June 16, noon to 5 p.m. 鈥 Visit the TU tent to grab swag and connect with campus resources. A range of vendors, performances and food will be available. 

How can all Tigers support Pride?

Everyone is welcome at the festival and parade! When you you'll get a free TU Pride T-shirt and the option to to the parade start.
You can show your allyship year-round by committing to learning about the queer community and issues that impact us. The CSD and Office of Inclusion & Institutional Equity (OIIE) offer ally training sessions, which are interactive, facilitated workshops about language and experiences that pertain to the LGBTQ+ community. I encourage everyone to sign up to learn how to be more supportive of each other. They鈥檙e available during the academic year; you can get details in TU Today.
You can also explore a wide range of experiences by reading books by queer authors and following queer people on social media. You might start with artists and activists like Alok Vaid-Menon, whose book 鈥淏eyond the Gender Binary鈥 is short and powerful, and Chase Strangio, who uses Instagram to debunk myths about the trans community. The poet and writer Fatimah Asghar has also published moving work exploring issues of sexuality, gender and culture.
What鈥檚 next for the sexuality and gender diversity program?

We鈥檙e planning on bringing back menstrual health wellness week this fall to provide access to menstrual health products and education to people who menstruate. It鈥檚 ridiculous because menstruation impacts half our population, but we get little education about it and have few spaces to talk about it. We want to change that.
We鈥檙e also continuing to explore ways to support the most minoritized populations in the LGBTQ+ community, including our trans and gender-nonbinary folks, queer people of color, and people who are queer and disabled. We鈥檙e creating spaces like open mic nights and LGBTQ+ mixers that allow students to express their identities and build connections. And we really want to focus on supporting our first-year and transfer student populations to help them find belonging early, since we know it positively impacts personal and academic success.
What鈥檚 surprised you about the TU community?

The courage and commitment of our students to be a force for good! They are so open to having candid conversations and standing up for what they believe in. I鈥檓 also continually impressed by the programs my CSD colleagues put out. It鈥檚 inspiring to see people here for the right reasons and so committed to doing DEI work.

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Celebrate LGBTQ+ History and Culture

Explore the development of LGBTQ+ rights at TU and connect with resources and community groups on campus. Learn more