Creating a Community of Care for Our LGBTQ+ Students and Employees
As the world celebrates LGBTQIA2S+ PRIDE month in June, staff and faculty at FRCC took some time to reflect on what PRIDE means to us as a college community—and as individuals.
Of course, there are big picture, institutional reasons we celebrate PRIDE. As an educational community, we believe that our diversity enriches all of our lives and learning experiences. (If you want to know more about that, you can read our Philosophy of Inclusion here.)
But there are also some personal reasons why we feel the need to create an inclusive community that welcomes everyone who wants to learn. Here’s what some of our folks had to say…
A Safe Space for Students and Employees to Be Themselves
Celebrating PRIDE is important for FRCC as an institution because often college campuses are the first place our LGBTQ+ students feel safe to be themselves. How they identify may not be embraced or supported at home or in their community—so our campuses, classrooms, and student spaces can serve as safe places for queer students to explore, grow, and flourish.
We are rarely born into queer families or communities, and college can be an important place to be held, seen, and loved by a family of choice and a community of care. As an out, queer educator, I want to be an ally, advocate, and accomplice for my LGBTQ+ students just like so many of my elders in this community did for me.
Kathy Mullins, English Faculty & Safe Zone Educator
PRIDE Gives Us a Voice
When I was a young Queer we didn’t have PRIDE like we do today… It gives us a voice, it gives us something tangible and good in a world that can be so cruel and hostile to who we are… especially right now.
We need PRIDE more than ever, to celebrate ourselves and our community, to uplift one another and say I see you, and I love you.
Pam Fischer, Lead Instructional Librarian
(Keep your eye here on the FRCC blog for Pam’s upcoming blog post sharing more of her PRIDE story.)
Grace, Kindness and Compassion
Pride is a time to reflect. Reflect on the past, to learn where our LGBTQIA2+ history began. To reflect on our current situation and how we can advocate for continuing advances for our community. And, finally to reflect on where would we would like our LGBTQIA2+ community to be in the future.
It is a time to celebrate who we are as individuals, to create and maintain safe spaces, and to support each other. Being part of the LGBTQIA2+ community or an ally has never been easy. This just means that we need to work hard to overcome obstacles.
TOGETHER, we can continue to move forward. Now more than ever, we need to offer grace, kindness and compassion, to ourselves, to each other and the community at large.
Kathy Trummer, Nursing Program Director
Embracing Who We Are
PRIDE is a time for celebrating who we are! A time to embrace our full selves and to accept other individuals’ identities, feelings and desires for exploration.
Pride is important for FRCC because we are an institution that celebrates diversity. Our LGBTQ+ students, staff and community members should always feel welcome, included and free to be.
Francis Schneeweis, TESL, ESL and English instructor
For me, pride means celebrating LGBTQ+ communities that have long been pushed to the margins. It means remembering the history of violence suffered by so many and committing to ending it.
It means highlighting the accomplishments of people who had to hide who they were. It means recognizing the challenges that still need to be overcome and the opportunities we all have to contribute to solutions.
In my home, celebrating pride means my children get to experience a world where they learn to care for themselves and care for others.
Anne Marie Jacobson, Instructional Dean
Humility… and Joyful Pride
I associate PRIDE with three words:
- Humility – PRIDE as a tradition is rooted historically in queer people (and often queer people of color) who risked their safety, their freedom and their lives to fight for a space for us. It is a time to remember and honor the many individuals who fought for our rights, and whose sacrifices made our community possible.
- Unapologetic – PRIDE is a time where we celebrate what being queer means to us. Many queer people experience shame, judgment and fear throughout their lives, often from the people who are closest to us. PRIDE is a time to lay that shame down, and to celebrate.
- Joy – PRIDE is ultimately a celebration. A celebration of who we are, who we love, and how we support one another.
Grace Brown, Concurrent Enrollment Coordinator
Claiming Our Identities and Cultural Legacies
I celebrate PRIDE to celebrate all my sisters and brothers who have sacrificed much to make the world a better place for each of us.
Community is formed, in the words of Bell Hooks, “…not by the eradication of difference but by its affirmation, by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world.”
I wish to create THAT community in my life and at FRCC, and I begin with honoring YOU as you are.
Elizabethe Plante, TRIO Counselor
Showing Our Support
Pride month is about acceptance, equality, celebrating the accomplishments of the LGBTQ+ community, educating folks on LGBTQ+ history and raising awareness of issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.
As an institution this time is about highlighting how damaging homophobia and transphobia has been and continues to be. It is about showing our support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Tim Mellon, Assistant Director of Student Life
Celebrating PRIDE is important because our students and staff deserve to know that we support them.
Hannah Brown, Director of Admissions & Outreach
Promoting Love and Hope
Pride has a long history in the US—it is a response to violence against the LGBTQ community, since the first moment of the Stonewall Riots. It means celebration and an authentic desire to be seen, acknowledged, and treated as human.
Though Pride is sponsored and parades are in many places, our nation is still enacting anti-LGBTQ legislation like the “Don’t Say Gay” acts and anti-trans legislation that prevents people from receiving healthcare.
Pride Month is so important because the visibility and actions to stop hate and promote love give people hope. Queer people are not alone, we never have to believe we are alone, and we will show up and fight for a world where we are safe and celebrated.
Paula Prentice, PhD, Director, TRIO Upward Bound & Advisor for Club PRISM
Welcoming. Respectful. Inclusive. Together, we are FRCC.