By Deanna Raineri, Chief Academic Strategist, Coursera
June is LGBTQ+ Pride month across the globe. In many places, including right here at Coursera, this is a time to celebrate the contributions, experiences, and diversity of LGBTQ+ individuals—and to acknowledge the challenges they continue to face around the world.
At Coursera, we believe that anyone, anywhere should have the opportunity to transform their life by accessing the world’s best education. Many of those transformations are professional—education leads to new skills, which lead to a higher-paying or more satisfying job. But personal transformations are just as important and profound, and transforming the experiences of historically underrepresented groups is a critical part of our mission.
As Pride month draws to a close, we’re reflecting on the role that Coursera can play in improving the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies. Education is not a panacea for injustice; but it is often the first step, and learning about topics like LGBTQ+ history, identity, and human rights can foster empathy and fundamentally change the way we view ourselves and others.
If this is an area you’re passionate about, or if you’re curious about the LGBTQ+ experience and want to learn more, we hope you’ll take a few minutes today to explore these courses:
- Health Across the Gender Spectrum Stanford University
- Gender and Sexuality: Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace University of Pittsburgh
- What does it mean to identify as transgender? University of Minnesota
- Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace ESSEC Business School
- Leading for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Higher Education University of Michigan
- Social Norms, Social Change University of Pennsylvania, Unicef
Before I sign off to head to Coursera’s happy hour Pride celebration, I’d like to share a personal story. Two years ago, I was participating in our freshman orientation at the University of Illinois. Midway through the proceeding, one of the deans asked all students who identified as LGBTQ+ to stand up if they were comfortable doing so. To my great delight, students started standing up, not just one or two of them, but many of them—and then the seated students began to applaud their standing classmates.
I was so proud at that moment to be a part of an institution that had created such a safe and welcoming environment for our LGBTQ+ community. Now, at Coursera, I’m committed to working with our amazing partners and employees to help millions of learners around the world embrace their full selves and applaud others’ differences. I hope you’ll join us on this journey toward a more vibrant, inclusive world.8