175 Makers of History: Saralyn Chesnut

Saralyn Chesnut 94PhD
First full-time director, Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Life

Saralyn Chesnut

Saralyn Chesnut became the first full-time director of Emory's Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Life in January 1993.

That July, the phrase "sexual orientation" was added to Emory's Equal Opportunity Policy; in 1995, Emory became one of only two universities in the South to offer benefits to same-sex partners of employees not legally married.

Chesnut also helped establish Emory's annual Pride Banquet, Safe Space program, and a speakers bureau, and brought National Coming Out Day to campus. Raised in a Southern Baptist family in Tifton, Georgia, Chesnut came to Atlanta in the 1970s and has been an active voice in the LGBT community for more than four decades.