By Kevin Schaefer |Staff Writer|
People of color need better representation in the LGBTTQQIA community and the community at large.
This was one of the sentiments expressed on March 6 at Colors of the Rainbow held in the SMSU Theater.
The Pride Center hosted a panel of LGBTTQQIA people of color who talked about their experiences and discussed different aspects about being a person of color within the LGBTTQQIA community.
The panel included Alex Iling, DeeJay Brown, Bien Fule-ver, Virginia Millacci and Izak Perrez.
The panelist talked about their experiences, the organizations they’re involved in, as well as different issues that impact the LGBTTQQIA community.
“If you look at a news article or anything that has to do with some kind of queer movement, the person who is usually the face of it is white and middle-classed. So this is a better representation of different people and what we are going to do is share our experiences as people of color and how that has impacted us as queer people,” said Iling.
Iling explained that she knows what it is like for people of color to not get adequate sexual health information as well as other health information.
“If you look at statistics, women of color are more likely to get different preventable diseases because they didn’t have access to information,” said Iling.
Being a minority group within the LGBTTQQIA community makes it more difficult to obtain the information needed without complicating your identity with misconceptions.
Brown talked about the LGBTTQQIA community in higher education, language in the classrooms and how every student should feel safe.
“The campus itself has grown a lot more accepting and tolerant of the LGBT community. The Pride Center has grown, there’s maybe 20 or so regulars that come in everyday, the events keep getting bigger and bigger, and there seems to be a lot more campus involvement as far as allies and non-LGBT people,” said Fule-ver.
Millacci, a half-white, half-Filipino mestiza shared her experience as a queer Filipino woman of color.
Fellow Filipino panelists Iling and Fule-ver joined Millacci in explaining how Filipino culture is more tolerant of gays in the community.
Janet Honn-Alex, Pride Center and Women’s Resource Center Coordinator said, “Our biggest event of spring quarter will definitely be Chaz Bono, [who will be on campus May 14]. He’s a transgender man and probably one of the most famous transgenders right now.”
The Pride Center continues to educate in issues of homophobia, hetero-sexism and acceptance throughout the campus community and welcomes everyone with open arms.