With the start of each school year at Florida A&M, well-established groups can expect droves of eager, motivated hopefuls. At the other end of the spectrum are groups that barely anyone knows about. One such organization, the FAMU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender pride group, is hoping to change that this year.
Albert Jubilee Jackson, 25, physical education student from Ft. Lauderdale, founded the group last year with a friend who currently attends Tallahassee Community College.
Jackson said he wants to “set an example to people who look up to me, who were in my position – being young and gay and lost.”
Now beginning the club’s second year of operations, Jackson said he wants this to be “the gayest year ever.”
The club is already planning a myriad of activities for the fall semester, including “Coming Out Day” on the Set, the Big Bend AIDS Walk at Tom Brown Park and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. Jackson also wishes to organize a drag show and a carwash at some point.
Also high on Jackson’s agenda is altering the university’s anti-discrimination policy.
“It says race, it says national origin, it says gender, it says all these other things, but it does not say sexual orientation and it does not say gender role expression. However, I can say that was written a long time ago and we’ve come a long way since those ways of thinking.”
Jackson encouraged heterosexuals to attend all events and functions and stressed that they have a willingness to “step outside of themselves,” and learn about a new culture.
The first meeting, held on Sept. 16, served as a welcome for new members. The organizer of the first meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the purpose of the meeting was “to introduce the freshmen to our organization, new students who just got here, and just to know that we have a strong gay-friendly environment at Florida A&M University.”
Vice President Amber Wormsley, 21, a computer information systems student from Ft. Lauderdale, talked about how parents may make it more difficult for their children to come out.
“These people are like damn near about to kill themselves, and their parents are like, ‘oh, it ain’t no big deal.’ Coming out is like the worst thing ever,” Wormsley said.
Wormsley is not shy about her lifestyle, however. During a workshop on business dress in her professional development class, she objected to a professor’s suggestion that she wear women’s clothing.
“Yeah, I dress like a dude when I come to class, but this is who I am,” said Wormsley. “My clothes aren’t going to prevent me from getting through a door, because my resume is going to speak for itself.”
Jackson is equally optimistic when it comes to the future of the club.
“Love always wins in the end,” said Jackson. “Good intentions go a long way, and that’s all I have.”
The FAMU LGBT pride group will be holding a Bisexuality Day forum on Sept. 23. They will also be meeting in B.L. Perry every other Wednesday night. The next meeting will be held Wednesday, Oct. 6.