Los Medanos College faculty and student club ALLIES prepare for their first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) social mixer. LMC staff who identify as LGBTQ or as an ally of the community want to hold an event for LGBTQ students to come together with staff.
Liz Green, LMC English professor, told how the mixer came to be, “I facilitated a professional development workshop for faculty during flex week in the beginning of the semester,” said Green, “It was for LGBTQ and ALLIES promoting LGBTQ studies across the curriculum, developing community among faculty and staff and how we can better support our LGBTQ students. What came out of that workshop was this idea to do the mixer. About six different faculty members met again as a follow up to that workshop and we were like ‘okay let’s make this mixer happen;’ it was really Melissa Pon’s idea. She had this idea to create an ‘Out List,’ which will be announced at the mixer. The plan is to have it be placed on the LMC website for faculty and staff who are willing to be ‘out;’ their names will be listed, their emails and department so students can have various points of contact and an ‘Allies’ page so straight students can identify as being resources as well. We’re hoping we get a good sized group.”
When it came to why Green wanted to be a part of it, she said she really wanted the LGBTQ community to have a spotlight.
“In the current political climate we’re in, all this crack down happening on transgender students from the Trump administration and then Mike Pence being openly homophobic and advocating conversion therapy, it is great to have a resistance where we can all bond together. So it may sound like free food and a party, but it’s about forming good bonds. If anything were to happen we have those bonds. Even before Trump got elected there were LBGTQ students facing mental health issues and homelessness. I think having that community, there’s a need to create that safe space. I want students to have a good time, feel connected and have a sense there’s a whole bunch of people out there they can talk to whether it’s Danielle Shaw, Melissa Pon, Josh Bearden, Seth Lavender, Jeff Matthews or me.”
Josh Bearden, LMC Social Science professor, who will be there organizing the food,would love to do another mixer like this in the future.
“We also talked about doing a happy hour or even a book club,” said Bearden, “maybe once a month or once every two months, just something that keeps the community going. There’s a small community of LGBTQ faculty here, but working this kind of job is isolating. For me it was about building that community and reaching out to people beyond my department at other places on campus and getting to know them. It’s also for the students as well because we want students to know who’s apart of their community and who are allies. It’s really important LGBTQ people are visible. Young college-aged people are getting into that self-discovery mode and they have lots of questions about their sexuality or place in the world. They need to know there are other people who can talk to them. I want students to feel supported, to know that they’re at a campus where they are accepted and where they should feel safe.”
Melissa Pon, LMC MESA Counselor, will be bringing sandwiches and providing support for the event.
“It is valuable that LMC supports the diversity of our faculty, staff and student
population,” said Pon, “Everyone on campus is welcome. Being involved with campus activities that supports diversity and inclusion is very important to me. The impact I would like students to leave with after the mixer, is that people from all walks of life are valued at LMC in relation to diversity and inclusion.”
The mixer will be held Mar. 27 from noon to 2 p.m. inside library room L109.