LAPA is a group of alumni that serves to support all LGBTQ+ alumni and allies through outreach and events.
Interested in joining or becoming more involved?
Keith Gustafson '19G (he/him)
Associate Director, Alumni Engagement & Inclusion Initiatives
Lehigh University Development and Alumni Relations
Amelia Conway ’20 ’21G
Integrated Business and Engineering with a Minor in Computer Science
Master’s Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering
Out on Campus
I didn’t transition until after I graduated from Lehigh. I never even went to the Pride Center.
I was goal driven, so I focused on my coursework, study abroad, internship, research, and thesis. I wanted to earn a presidential scholarship. So I stayed in my room and studied. Still, I knew that something was missing, that I didn’t really feel like me. It was like I was a co-pilot in my own head. I had expectations to meet — both my own and those from my family. I worked to fit that mold and loved how appreciated I felt when I did so. I did struggle to connect with people and was not living authentically or working to understand myself well.
It was only after I finished my graduate degree that I began to process things. I had a month before my job started. Over those days, I had to piece together my experiences, thoughts, and feelings while growing up and face some emotional ups and downs. That’s when I had to accept that I was transgender.
I am a project manager, strategy analyst, and programmer at Sanofi. My employer was fantastic, supportive, and inclusive during my physical and legal transition. This is why I want to be active with the Lehigh Alumni Pride Association. I am one voice among many, but maybe can make one person happier by speaking to them and sharing my story.
Tell Yourself Back Then
You have a duty to yourself to be the best version of yourself. That is the real accomplishment and goal. You won’t remember the grades. Self-discovery is important. Such work pays dividends down the line. So look at your blind spots and see what you are missing out on in life.
Keeping yourself in ignorance, not wanting to face the truth, and living a beautiful lie will not keep you from confronting what’s inside you. Don’t choose short-term ease when you want to find meaning and connection in yourself and with others.
Advice for Students Today
When you first handle what seems the most tough, everything else can be easier. So if you are feeling comfortable, then you probably aren’t growing enough or pushing yourself in new directions.