The fight for LGBT rights in America has been going on since the early 20th century.
For years people who identify as gay and lesbian have been bullied, ostracized, and felt unsafe in certain areas of society. Although the acceptance of people’s lifestyles has become more tolerant over time, there is still much more to be done.
Florida A&M University is doing its part to make sure that all of its students, no matter how they identify, are treated fairly and feel safe on campus. The university has an LGBT organization called Spectrum, which welcomes all students.
“Spectrum is an LGBTQA organization on campus that offers a safe space where students feel free to be themselves and not worry about being looked at or treated differently for being who they are,” said Nicholas Freeman who serves as parliamentarian of the organization.
The organization’s advisor is Tanya Tatum, who is the university’s director of health services. Spectrum hosts weekly events in the Safe Zone room, located on the second floor in Room 206 of the C.C. Cunningham Career Center.
Events include painting, karaoke and round table discussions on issues within the LGBTQA community. The room is also open throughout the week for students to come take tours.
Spectrum also promotes sexual health. The organization partners with FAMU Student Health Services to host panel discussions and seminars on sexual health awareness, the importance of knowing your status, and getting tested.
Spectrum says its No. 1 goal is to see more inclusion and unity on FAMU’s campus.
“The unity is important for us as people. Although I may be black and gay, and you are black and straight, more unties us than divides us because at the end of the day we still face oppression as black people. The oppression from the majority, should bring us together to fight for equality amongst us all, and not separate us,” said Marissa Holloman,the organization’s president and grad advisor.
Spectrum is having a physical and mental health day next Wednesday. It will include an outside work out followed by a panel discussion that will talk about mental health in the black community and its importance to make sure that black people take care of themselves mentally and to not feel shamed when struggling with mental illness.