Many forms of outreach featuring the LGBTQ community
South Bureau Chief
It was late June in 1969 when a Black Trans woman by the name of Marsha P. Johnson rallied the beginning landmark of the society-changing Stonewall Riot. Fifty years later across the country, people experience Pride Month in June and various communities join to acknowledge the beauty of individuality.
Broward College, not unfamiliar to working with marginalized or minority communities, hosts events that cater to that legacy. Whether it be faculty-led or club designed, 2019 has seen many events leading conversations around LGBTQ+.
Over last Summer’s term, Dr. Robert Morris of the Social and Behavioral Sciences and Human Services (SBSHS) Pathway on South Campus held a panel discussion for Caribbean Heritage and Pride Month. His discussion highlighted the fear Caribbean parents have for their LGBTQ kids and the differect levels of respect gender orientations encounter. Featuring faculty from the college on the panel like campus librarian, Tiffany Walker, Morris’ event helped to bridge the gap of assumption that does appear when discussing the direct effects of more traditional backgrounds.
He again hosted within this Fall semester another LGBTQ event on South Campus for Hispanic Heritage Month. Inviting the YES Institute of Miami to lead a conversation and follow-up Q&A session, speaker Dani Dominguez, who identifies with the they/them pronouns, spoke about their role within the company and the YES Institute’s involvement in going out to the community to once again, bridge the gap of understanding.
The focus of this session was to demonstrate, along with their guest speaker, Vic, that working with students from a young age has an insightful impact on their developing perspectives of different kinds of people. Dominguez explains that conversations relating to the LGBTQ+ experience are often layered. In their line of work, they’ve found race and ethnicity play a role in the confidence of individuals who do want to find an ally as they explore various gender/identity roles.
Going into October, across Broward College the celebration of National Coming Out Day – Oct. 11th and the joys of individuality were seen on North, Central and South Campus. October 7th-17th held an event for each day of BC Pride Week. Student Life from each campus, CASE and other professors from the SBSHS Pathway like Robert Gallagher were involved spreading the love of the Pride to students, faculty and staff.
South Campus’ Gay/Straight Alliance Club (GSA) held a Q&A discussion Oct. 10th about religion and queerness that affect the LGBTQ+ community.
Seen thus far, BC has been readily involved in introducing and continuing conversations that share the education of people and communities who are often overlooked or drowned with assumption.
Hosting Kamruz Zaman Hosein from JAM & All Interfaith and Reverend Joel S. Slotnick from United Church of Christ, dialogue was once again the main feature to share education with the student body. Vic from the YES Institute workshop was upfront about sharing his story as a transgender man and said that when younger, “questioned himself because [his family and religion] questioned him.”
Often, the story of condemnation from Abrahamic religions factor why people were ashamed of their sexuality or felt ostracized because their gender wasn’t how they saw themselves.
GSA used their last formal Pride Day to hold a conversation between these religious leaders and the student body on South Campus. Slotnick, a gay Pastoral Care Minister, and Hosein, a straight President of FIU Multifaith Council, reiterated: the effects of society; that the many kinds of societies that introduce different kinds of ‘normal’.
President of GSA, Abrianna Jean-Baptiste moderated the event and reported a 50-50 turnout of students who attended for class and students who attended for personal interests.
Professor Gallagher says, “The event was to give another perspective of religious texts. Where they are used from a more conservative standpoint, the goal was to open that understanding and see how they can apply those texts in different ways in their everyday lives.”
Speakers from each event made a point on the importance of language and the effects of words on an individual’s esteem, but the work is never done.
Morris may host another LGBTQ event for Black History Month come Spring semester and GSA initiatives are never finished as the Campus can look forward to a Drag event next semester as well.
The beauty of an individual, however the form may come, is an over-arching theme BC has been pushing. With continued support through events like these and more, inclusivity and understanding are but a willing ear away.