Discover Your Island

Colorful LGBTQ+ Celebration Hosted at Island University

October 16, 2017

colorful-lgbtq-celebration.jpg

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Between bites of sparkling, colorful cupcakes, Islanders perused the various booths at the LGBTQ+ Celebration at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The Islander Cultural Alliance (ICA) hosted this event on Oct. 11 in honor of National Coming Out Day, in partnership with the Inclusive Islander Network, Pride Alliance and University Counseling Center. Held on a cool, sunny day on the lawn outside of the University Center, Islanders participated in a myriad of activities, learned more about LGBTQ+ culture and history and supported one another.

“Having events like the LGBTQ+ Celebration helps normalize different identities within our community,” said Susan Latorre, Advisor for ICA. “College is a time when a lot of LGBTQ+ people who are struggling with their identity have enough support to come out, so this is an opportunity to show support.”

The ICA is a student-run organization that focuses on providing multicultural and diversity events for the Islander community. At the celebration, the ICA showcased their annual “Coming Out” door. Across the white door, students had the opportunity to write, in a rainbow of colors, their support and encouragement to those in the LGBTQ+ community. Some LGBTQ+ students wrote about their loved ones or their pride in their own identities. Students also created sand art in a bottle using different pride flag colors and decorated their own “gender bread” to explore different forms of gender expression.

The Inclusive Islander Network is an organization with a goal to educate people on many different identity issues, including sexual orientation and gender. At the LGBTQ+ Celebration, they advocated for education of different pride flags and safe sex practices

“We want people to understand the history behind the original rainbow pride flag and why it’s an intentionally unifying symbol,” said Delaney Foster, Student Engagement Coordinator of the Inclusive Islander Network. “Mostly, we want people to know that it’s okay to be proud.”  

Islander graduate student Sara Hernandez, Inclusion Educator of the Inclusive Islander Network, informed people of the many flags and symbols within the LGBTQ+ community. The original rainbow pride flag, made in the 1970s, provided a symbol of hope, unity and pride. Meanwhile, Foster offered various forms of safe contraception to those interested and a pile of candy for anyone to take.

The Pride Alliance is a student-run organization whose goal is to provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ people to be amongst each other and to provide educational opportunities.

“Alleviating the burden that LGBTQ+ students face starts with educating students, faculty and administration,” said Ricky Ayala, President of the Pride Alliance who is majoring in sociology. “The Pride Alliance is trying to make it safer for people to come out, but if people don’t, that’s okay.”

The Pride Alliance members came up with a bingo game to try to break stereotypes. Spots included spaces like “putting on pants” to show that LGBTQ+ people are just like everyone else. From pressure to conform to not being able to use the restroom safest for them, LGBTQ+ students face unique challenges, said Ayala. By showing everyone that LGBTQ+ students are like everyone else, it’s a step further in the Pride Alliance’s goal of helping LGBTQ+ students, he concluded.