On February 22, 2022, Temple University's Main Campus Program Board (MCPB) hosted a Q&A session with one of the hosts of Queer Eye, Tan France. When looking for a moderator for the event, Director of Live Entertainment for MCPB Sydney Noble came across Director of Undergraduate and Communication Studies at Klein College of Media and Communication Scott Gratson, TYL '13 (he/him).

"I reached out to Dr. Gratson to moderate the discussion after researching his advocacy in the LGBTQ+ community and professional experiences in speaking engagements," Noble wrote.

In the green room before the event, Gratson and France got time to chat. They talked about everything from their favorite English foods to the progress the LGBTQ community has made, and their rapport on stage was incredible.

France, Gratson said, just wanted to have fun. While it was intimidating for Gratson to ask such a fashion icon about fashion, he facilitated an incredible conversation with France before opening up the floor for questions. France shared his experiences with Islamophobia as an immigrant in England, advice for being an advocate for the LGBTQ community and, of course, some behind the scenes details about Queer Eye and the rest of his cast members, aka the "Fab Five."

"The big highlight of it was just seeing so many excited students," Graston said. "It was extremely moving to realize how far we've come as a community."

One such excited student was senior CMST major Andreas Copes (they/them). Copes is an avid fan of Queer Eye and appreciates that the show features people like them in other parts of the country and world. Like France, Copes immigrated from Europe to America, and they loved hearing about his experience.

Gratson is known for his work with the New York City pride march and teaches a class every spring about the history of Pride and LGBTQ activism. The students in the course then have the option of having an internship with NYC Pride, which most of them jump at the chance for.

The first year the course was taught was 2019, the year WorldPride was held in New York City. When Gratson was introducing France to the crowd, he told the story of Temple's first time at NYC Pride. That is, right as they were about to step onto the Fab Five. He reminisced about the screams of joy he told the student, some of which came from himself!

This year, it is expected that about 32 students that are currently taking the course or have taken the course in the past will intern for the march, some of whom will be in management roles.

Gratson himself has been going to NYC Pride for 13 years, and after spending time on the operations team, he recently accepted the position of captain of spectator services for the summer 2022 march. This role, he said, is just the challenge he was looking for, and he is looking forward to getting outside of his comfort zone.

Along the parade route, there are three main areas where people congregate. Gratson will be in charge of making sure people are enjoying the march, having a good time and accommodating guests with disabilities.

Even though Gratson and his students will be working the event, he is working on figuring out a way for them to still march and represent Temple.

Copes noted that while it is not only important to have LGBTQ icons like France to look up to, they also have professors at Temple like Gratson. "If you see professors who are open about their identity on campus, you feel reaffirmed in your own identity," they said. 

Copes was originally going to be a journalism major at Temple, but after meeting Gratson, they decided to major in communication studies and minor in journalism. They credit Gratson, as well as other professors such as Carolyn Kitch, KLN '98, and Adrienne Shaw, with making Klein such an inclusive space for all individuals through their research and inclusion of LGBTQ topics in the courses they teach.

Gratson can still hear the applause of the students at the event in his head, and was so moved to see how thrilled the students were to see France.

"Dr. Gratson was great to collaborate with and went above and beyond to support and encourage me on event day," Noble wrote. "I couldn't have chosen a better moderator!"