Baruch celebrates LGBT History Month with series of events

JS_1442.jpg

Photo by Jonathan Sperling. The Gender, Love and Sexuality Spectrum of Baruch College hosted the opening ceremony for LGBT History Month on Oct. 13. The event occurred during club hours and consisted of an informal pride parade around the 25th Street Plaza, immediately followed by a talk given by a keynote speaker and a light reception.

Those who planned to participate in the parade met on the second floor of the Newman Vertical Campus during club hours. Members of G.L.A.S.S. brought LGBT flags and positioned them across their backs like capes to make them more visible. When the time came to march and chant, the group made its way down the stairs and out onto the plaza.

Gabe Roman, the president of G.L.A.S.S., led the parade along with Kayla Maryles, the club’s advisor and assistant director of New Student Programs. With their flags streaming proudly behind them, participants made a few roundabouts along the plaza, shouting mantras such as “hey, ho, homophobia has got to go,” “love is love is love is love” and “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.”

Passersby and onlookers often smiled with support, some capturing photos of the fleeting group.

After the brief parade, participants made their way into the building to hear the keynote speaker and attend the reception. Roman addressed the audience and was prompted by one of the members to discuss the theme of the month.

“The theme is stories. We wanted to focus on stories this month because everyone has one. Even the most boring person in the world has a story but they just might not want to read it,” said Roman.

Roman explained that the purpose behind the multiple events held throughout the month is to highlight as many voices as possible and give everyone a platform to share his or her story. Following Roman’s opening address, the keynote speaker was directed to the front of the room. G.L.A.S.S. invited Aubrey Leukart, the former assistant director of Health and Wellness, to serve as honorary keynote speaker for the event.

Leukart delivered powerful sentiments about the reason why she identifies as a major ally to the LGBT community and urged people in the audience to learn more about the issues surrounding the community.

Attendees were mostly affiliated with the club, but several non-members took part as well. Alexander Fermin, the club’s marketing assistant, discussed the sense of community he felt through the event.

“I got a very inclusive and also very personal [vibe from the event]. Since the club is a small organization, I feel like everyone is very close, like they’re already becoming family to me,” Fermin said. “I’m really excited for all of the events and I’m excited to be in a place where it’s so LGBT-inclusive because I’m from outside of New York. I’m from the south where it’s not as inclusive, so I’m just excited to be in a safe space.”

Toward the end of the event, Roman thanked the audience members for attending and elaborated on how the rest of the month would proceed. Roman called for last-minute sign-ups for the Open Mic Night, which happened on the night of the Opening Ceremony. Other events that have already occurred include Safe Zone Training and Gayme Night.

Safe Zone Training consisted of an informational session during which common misconceptions about the LGBT community were debunked. Gayme Night consisted of team competitions and prizes.

“One of the best things you can do to be an ally to a community is to get educated so you know what you’re talking and what you can do for these communities,” Roman said.

Upcoming events include a panel titled “Queer People in Media” and a meet and greet with Baruch faculty members who are LGBT allies. Throughout the month, people will have the opportunity to work with VideoOut, a pro-LGBT organization that works to collect and record stories from willing participants. Anyone will be able to record his or her own story or listen to the stories being recorded.

The month will end with one of the most popular events, Fright Night, whose theme is storybook villains. Additionally, G.L.A.S.S. will go on an outing to the area around the Stonewall Inn and the Big Gay Ice Cream shop on Friday, Oct. 28. Students who are interested can sign up for a spot at the Office of Student Life.