How does the topic of intersectionality apply to the black and LGBTQ+ community? The Black Student Union and Fairfield University Alliance tried to tackle homophobia by collaborating on an open dialogue in the Dogwood Room in the John A. Barone Campus Center on Monday, Oct. 29. The goal of the event was to create a safe space for students to talk about racism and prejudice in the LGBTQ+ community.
The students gathered to have an open conversation about intersectionality and what it means to be both a part of the African American community and the LGBTQ+ community. Speakers from both organizations put together a presentation that combined values they both foster.
All were invited to contribute to the conversation, which covered issues such as hyper-masculinity and what it means to be an ally if you are not queer or black.
Psychology major Sarah Gedeon ‘19 came up with the idea to bring together the two clubs to discuss an important topic that affects many.
“I decided to collab both clubs together because I am a part of both clubs and I figured it would be really essential to have both clubs join together and participate in this very important dialogue which is intersectionality,” said Gedeon.
She then explained what she hopes students took away from attending the event. “I hope they get out new knowledge about this type of stuff and maybe take this and educate others,” said Gedeon ‘19.
The leaders of Alliance and BSU discussed important events in the history of our country, such as the Pulse Club shooting. In particular, the implications of the Stonewall Riots were discussed, which took place in 1969 in New York City. Many do not know that the Stonewall Riots are the reason for the well-known Pride Parades that take place all over the country each year.
Major figures from past and present, such as Marsha P. Johnson and Laverne Cox, were brought into the conversation to talk about people of color and of the LGBTQ+ community who are making a difference. Cox rose to fame after her role in “Orange is the New Black”, and has since become an advocate for transgender people across the world. Johnson was a major activist in the LGBTQ+ community and played a huge role in the Stonewall Riots.
Junior Sidney Sarfo, who is the event coordinator for BSU, felt that open discussions like this are essentially for male students at the University.
“Being here for three years now I know that there are a lot of people who don’t know about this, I know I didn’t. Before I came to school here I went to an all boys Catholic school and, until I came here, I didn’t realize a lot of what I would say, and they would say, there was a problem with it. So I hope this helps guys like me understand these things,” said Sarfo.
At the end of the discussion, students discussed what they could do to not be a bystander to hate speech or other internalized practices, not only on campus, but in every situation. Many students came forward with questions about how to make sure they are treating someone with kindness in respect to sexuality and gender.