Jill Koyama: Director of the UA Institute for LGBT Studies

by Bruce Hyland

Jill Koyama, Ph.D., Director of the Institute for LGBT Studies, The University of Arizona, is busy working online and taking long walks with her pup, LuluBlu. She’s planting garden seeds as her nod to the future.

Being of Japanese heritage, with family history of being interned during the war, as well as living through the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Jill fears certain groups may be blamed or targeted. Because of different levels of privilege and income, there could be unequal access to institutional services.

Jill is hopeful and sees some neighbors and communities joining together, in some unexpected ways. She’s impressed with offers of free wellness support and enrichment programs online.

iLGBTS is in the process of making nearly 30 books by QTPOC authors available free online and will be supporting ten local LGBTQ+ artists-in-residence whose livelihood/health have been adversely affected by COVID-19 responses.

Jill’s message for Senior Pride: “I trust that we, an interconnected web of LGBTQ+ people, know how to come together and take care of each other. I would like this time to dissolve some of the internal boundaries and rifts between LGBTQ+ identifications and genders.”

She offers as an example, her LGBTQ+ neighbor who sewed 60+ masks. She and Jill walked around and gave them to the neighbors, being greeted with big smiles.