The Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity’s GLBT Center welcomes Rain Garant (he, him) as its new assistant director of educational programming and student leader development. Garant describes himself as a proud trans man and even prouder dog dad. He is justice-oriented, identity and emotional intelligence focused and a firm believer in using program assessment to aid student growth and development. His top values are community, well-being and justice; he views public accountability and support as a key part of living these values out. He has over six years of experience working in LGBTQ+ and multicultural student support offices, with additional experience in assessment and research studies.
Originally from Alexandria, Virginia, Garant earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from James Madison University. During his formal education, he completed research projects around diversifying the English major’s canon, conceptualizing leadership among students of color at an HWI, and increasing first-year students’ intercultural competence through dialogue-based interventions. He says he views intersectionality as a practical necessity and draws from multiple sources of wisdom — lived, published, felt — to inform his work as a scholar-practitioner.
Most recently, Garant served in a dual role as assistant director of intercultural life and campus LGBTQ+ advisor at Knox College in Illinois. He worked with six residential cultural centers around programming and leadership development and assisted in coordinating annual events such as the campus-wide Day of Dialogue and month-long Ramadan prayer services. He also coordinated the college’s LGBTQIAP+ educational and social opportunities: he designed and piloted a SafeZone training program for advocates, hosted Transgender Day of Remembrance and LGBTQ+ History Month keynote events and hosted queer coffee hours around identity awareness days. He was instrumental in beginning conversations with residential life to shift towards trans-inclusive housing practices, revising the campus-wide roommate interest form for the 2021-22 academic year to capture gender-expansive information. Additionally, he led workshops on microaggressions, unconscious bias and intercultural competence for faculty, staff and students.
When he’s not at work, Garant is a runner, cyclist, food enthusiast, boulderer (shorter-height rock climbing without ropes or harnesses) and MCU fan. Want to get to know him better? Ask what cooking techniques he’s working on, how half-marathon training is going or what non-alcoholic IPAs are on his “to drink” list.