Advocating for Acceptance Is Priority for Ingram
This Memorial Day weekend, Danny Ingram wasn’t lounging poolside or grilling out in Piedmont Park — he was in Washington, D.C., speaking for veterans everywhere.
“On May 31, I participated in one of three panels that testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights,” said Ingram, a senior technical analyst in the Office of Information Technology (OIT). “Myself and the other veterans were asked to speak on a variety of issues in the military — ranging from religious issues to benefits for same-sex couples.”
Ingram spent Memorial Day honoring fellow veterans at Arlington National Cemetery. (To view the testimony, visit http://c.gatech.edu/11IXgZR.)
But Ingram’s role in advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights — especially the rights of those who were in the military — goes back to the early 1990s. About halfway through his six-year military career, Ingram decided to go public with the fact that he is gay.
“I’d met some remarkable people who had the courage to come out,” he said. “And I finally decided that I couldn’t let them take all the heat for me.”
It was 1992 (a year before Don’t Ask Don’t Tell became a law) and since there was only a policy in place prohibiting gays in the military (rather than a law), Ingram decided to write a letter to his commanding officer.
For the next year, Ingram waited as his case worked its way through the system. Ten days before the end of his military commitment, Ingram received an honorable discharge.
“Ever since, I’ve worked with the organization, American Veterans for Equal Rights advocating for LGBT veterans,” said Ingram, who is now president of the organization. “Even though I was discharged, I love and honor the military. And the goal of this group is to provide a place where LGBT vets can honor pride in our service and our sexual identity.”
Read on to learn more about Ingram and his time at Georgia Tech.
Did you intend to end up in this career?
Actually, no. I intended to become a Catholic priest and majored in psychology, religion, and English at Emory University. I really just fell into my job at Tech. I was working in the cashier’s office at Emory when a former co-worker (who had accepted a job at Tech) told me I should take a job here. So in 1984, I came to the Institute, first working in Information Services, which was absorbed by OIT. My job was to work as the liaison between people on campus and the computer programming staff. And after moving around over the years, I’m now in a similar role.
Tell us about your job.
I help people across campus explain their technology project needs to our programmers — I consider myself a bit of an interpreter. For example, I’m currently working with the Bursar’s office to help them develop an online tool that will improve efficiency. I will help them write the design specifications and will make sure that the programmers meet their needs.
What is your greatest challenge?
The hardest part about my job is having to research customers’ problems with OIT’s web applications, because there are so many complex variables involved, including operating systems and security settings.
What is the most satisfying part of the job?
When I’m able to solve a problem for someone. But sometimes it’s just as satisfying to be able to direct a person to someone who can help them if I’m unable to.
What are a few things that all faculty and staff should do while working at Tech?
Work out at the Campus Recreation Center (that is my go-to stress reliever), and attend events that feature our students. I’m always so impressed when I see what they can do.