LGBTQ South Florida

Leading LGBT issues educator to meet Wednesday at University of Miami

Dr. Ronni Sanlo will discuss the film ‘Letter to Anita,’ based on her book ‘Letter to Anita Bryant,’ Feb. 17 at Cosford Cinema.
Dr. Ronni Sanlo will discuss the film ‘Letter to Anita,’ based on her book ‘Letter to Anita Bryant,’ Feb. 17 at Cosford Cinema.

Dr. Ronni Sanlo, one of the nation’s leading educator in sexual orientation issues, will conduct a series of strategic planning meetings this week at University of Miami.

A students-only forum happens Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Sanlo — a North Miami Beach native who now lives in Ventura, California — meets with others in the UM community, including alumni.

Wednesday night at UM’s Bill Cosford Cinema, Sanlo will screen the documentary about her own personal story, Letter to Anita,which recounts her coming out and divorce, and how she consequently lost custody of her children.

Here’s the complete UM news release:

The University of Miami has announced that it will increase its resources that are available to support students of all gender identities and sexual orientations by establishing a dedicated center on campus. In order to plan the scope of what the center should offer the University community, a foremost expert on LGBTQ issues in the realm of higher education, Dr. Ronni Sanlo, has been engaged to conduct a series of meetings to create strategic plans for the UM Center.

A forum for UM students only will take place at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, February 16. The next day, a daylong strategic-planning meeting, intended for the UM community including alumni, will take place February 17. To register to participate, by February 12, visit

“Dr. Sanlo is one of higher education’s most sough-after experts on LGBTQ issues,” said Dr. Pat Whitely, Vice President for Student Affairs. “I am delighted she has accepted our invitation to join us at UM as we seek to create a truly first-rate and inclusive LGBTQ Center.”

A Miami Beach native who formerly served as an HIV/AIDS epidemiologist for the Florida Health Department, Sanlo is the Director Emeritus of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center at UCLA, where she served as the Senior Associate Dean of Students and professor/director of the UCLA Masters of Education in Student Affairs. She had previously served on the higher education faculty at California State University Fullerton, and prior to that, had served as director of the University of Michigan LGBT Center.

Sanlo is the founding chair of the Consortium of Higher Education Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Professionals, and is the originator of the award-winning Lavender Graduation commencement event, which the University of Miami first held in 2015.

During her visit to UM, Sanlo will screen the award-winning documentary that was made about her story, Letter to Anita. The film depicts Sanlo, a married mother of two who came out as a lesbian and divorced her husband, which resulted in her losing custody of her children as a result. The film, which will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17 at the Cosford Cinema on campus, is free and open to the public, but RSVP is required by visiting before February 12. Sanlo will be on hand to respond to questions following the film. For more information, contact