Pride Month Offers an Array of Events

A month of workshops, film, panels and more are being offered in celebration of Pride Month at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY).

The month’s events opened on October 4 with a workshop presenting scholarship opportunities of particular interest to LGBTQ students. Then on October 10 in Richard Harris Terrace at 199 Chambers Street, an LGBTQ Resource Fair and Kickoff Luncheon were held.

Michael Hutmaker, BMCC Dean for Student Affairs, opened the luncheon event. “The LGBTQ Pride Month events are only one way in which BMCC celebrates and supports the diversity of our entire campus community,” he said. “This is our fifth year celebrating Pride Month, which started as an awareness week in 2010, and grew from there.”

Guest speaker Hida Viloria: Putting the “I” in “LGBTQI”

Jason Schneiderman, BMCC Professor of English and faculty advisor for Pride Month, recognized LGBTQ Club President Stephen Tenezaca and Vice President Yevgeny Pasturkhova, “who are resources for students interested in getting involved LGBTIAQ life on campus.” He also introduced guest speaker Hida Viloria, author of “Born Both: An Intersex Life.”

Intersex visibility has been a presence on the queer ID spectrum since the nineties,” Schneiderman said. “It was often treated as an illness, rather than a way people express their gender and their body.”

During he/r talk, Viloria addressed the question, “Why hasn’t the ‘I’ [for ‘intersex’] in ‘LGBTQI’ been embraced more? When I was growing up, it was an insult to say to someone, ‘You’re not a real man’; ‘You’re not a real woman’. As intersex individuals, we are the specter of prejudice that the LGBTQ community has experienced.”

One of three people nationwide to hold a birth certificate describing he/r as intersex, Viloria explained that there are “30 to 40 different variations of intersex identities and chromosome variations, and 1.7 percent of the population is intersex. We are all living amongst you.”

S/he also discussed the term “Latinx,” a substitute for the female “Latina” and male “Latino,” the latter of which is also used for mixed plural usage. “Using ‘Latinex’ rejects power structures that have impacted my life,” Viloria said.

Support and resources available year round

The next Pride Month event is an exhibition opening October 17 in the main lobby at BMCC. Other events include a Safe is Sexy Workshop; a panel, “Queer Intersectionality, A Conversation With Activists,” workshops on coming out at work, and more.

Pride Month concludes on November 2, but LGBTQ programs and services at BMCC are provided throughout the year.

These include Safe Zone trainings for faculty and staff who volunteer to provide support and information to individuals at the College, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

For details and a full listing of Pride Month events, visit the BMCC website. For more information, contact Dean Michael Hutmaker at mhutmaker@bmcc.cuny.edu.