Director of MNSU LGBT Center died Tuesday
Jessica Flatequal, Director of the Minnesota State University, Mankato LGBT Center died this Tuesday of liver failure, according to her Caring Bridge post. Flatequal also stated in the post that because of her liver disease, her kidneys were also failing.
Also according to her Caring Bridge post, she was admitted to the Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, Sunday, January 13. “I’m a fighter. My life has always been about challenging the status quo. Nothing about my will-power, my zest for life, my sense of humor and compassion for others has changed,” she stated in the post, “In actuality, I think they have become even more engrained.”
Flatequal graduated high school from Mankato East High School, and then graduated college from MNSU with both a B.F.A and M.A. She was the first full-time Director the LGBT Center, starting in 2004. She also helped with directing the Violence and Awareness Response Program (VARP) and MNSU’s Women’s Center.
“I’m pretty sure I have the most awesome job in Mankato. My mom always told me to do what I love, so indeed, I work as a professional lesbian!” Flatequal wrote on her MNSU bio page, “I’m dedicated to creating a safe and respectful climate for the LGBT folk on campus and in our community and fighting for justice and fairness for all marginalized people. If you are struggling with issues of sexual identity or you know someone who is, please don’t hesitate to call or email. You are not alone! I’m here to help.”
David Gardner, the Acting Director of the Gender and Sexuality Programs, said of Flatequal, “She was a pillar in our queer community.” He said he thinks that, although the program has had a huge setback, it will “only grow stronger. Jessica would want us to keep moving in this way.”
President Davenport has also shared his condolences through an email, saying that she “has been transformative in diversity, inclusion and equity work on our campus… My thoughts are with her wife and our colleague, Dr. Maria Bevacqua, and their family, friends and loved ones during this very difficult time.”
Davenport also stated that the Counseling Center is always open to students who need help during this hard time. He also said the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available for faculty and staff, as well.
There is a picture of Flatequal and a poster that read, “REST IN POWER JESS” in front of the LGBT Center that students can sign to leave messages of support and love. Students who knew Flatequal are encouraged to share their messages on the poster.
“Jessica showed me that it is always okay to express your beautiful self,” said one student. Another student said that she was an inspiration to all, “and not just in the queer community. She impacted many lives and will always be missed.”
Jessica Flatequal’s Celebration of Life will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday at the Verizon Center, according to Wednesday’s Student Government meeting.
Header photo by Maria Ly | MSU Reporter.