The student news site of Los Medanos College

Experience

The student news site of Los Medanos College

Experience

The student news site of Los Medanos College

Experience

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Annual LGBTQ+ summit centers inclusivity at LMC

 The sixth annual CCC LGBTQ+ Summit was held virtually on April 24 and 25, inviting attendees across the district to register and engage with presenters via Zoom. The summit provided an opportunity to learn more about the needs of LGBTQ+ students, how campuses can be more attentive and conclusive, and how to extend empathy both in and outside the classroom.

Some of the presentations featured were Visual Participatory Action Research: Centering our LGBTQ+ Students as Researchers, The Lavender Graduation Playbook: Creating a Celebration and Dedication to the LGBTQIA+ Community, and CCC LGBTQ+ Caucus: Intersectionality in Practice. 

Many presentations focused on supporting student needs now and in the future, as well as providing a space for reflection on both data and lived experiences from members of the community. One thing emphasized throughout was the idea of intersectionality, in that LGBTQ+ students come from a variety of backgrounds, often creating compounding levels of discrimination and marginalization they experience.

For this reason, student voices are considered of utmost importance in implementing meaningful changes to help others feel accepted and supported on campus. As times change, terminology evolves with it, both inside and outside the broader LGBTQ+ community.

During a section titled “Listening to Students: What does a Queer-Inclusive Classroom Look Like?,” Professor of History and LGBTQ+ Studies at American River College Sara Smith-Silverman addressed lower graduation and success rates for LGBTQ+ students, and shared an oral history research project that included interviews with many queer and transgender students.

In it, students shared how queer history was either not mentioned or glossed over, with the achievements of queer individuals either minimized, or their identity left ambiguous or generalized. If the teacher was not explicitly part of the umbrella or an ally themselves, the subject was unlikely to be brought up.

The project detailed how the importance of inclusion not only helps LGBTQ+ students feel like they are not alone and that they can succeed, but that their identity is not something to be ashamed of.

Program Coordinator for Student Life Lindsay Litowitz shared the significance of students being open about themselves. 

“I’d like to see LMC do better, but I don’t know what they [students] need,” Litowitz said.

For some, the task of being open can be daunting — especially in a climate that is so hostile to queer people. The Queer-Inclusive Classroom presentation touched on some of the ways students feel pressured to out themselves before they are ready, or how they might feel uncomfortable revealing such information to explain something to a professor who is not very knowledgeable about queer experiences.

Litowitz encourages students to join the Pride Alliance club on campus, as they are always looking for new members and opportunities to educate and build connections. She also said that there is an optional safe zone training during Flex Week that includes information about the LGBTQ+ community, its history, best practices, and ideas to be more inclusive. She recommends the training for everybody, and hopes to see more LGBTQ+ representation in LMCAS.

As of right now, LMC has no shortage of allies who are looking to make campus a welcoming place. There are resources available on the LMC webpage and a list to showcase faculty and staff who are members of the community. It is common practice for faculty to utilize pride stickers to designate spaces as safe zones for students.

“This is a space where we’re learning from students more than they’re learning from us,” said Litowitz.

This year marks the second time the summit was streamed on campus at LMC. It was open to all students and streamed on the upper floor of the Student Union, with different rooms dedicated to multiple presentations running simultaneously. Additionally, students could register to attend the summit on their own. 

The presentations were all recorded, so anyone interested in viewing multiple meetings can register to receive a copy of the recordings once they are ready. Currently, the timeframe for when recordings will be made available is unknown.

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Colin Wainwright
Colin Wainwright, Staff Writer

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