Throughout the month of October, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion organized a series of LGBTQ+ events and programs. Together with a group of student organizers, the Center dedicated October as Ringling College of Art and Design’s Pride Month—as a time when students are on campus and as a celebration of the national LGBTQ+ Pride History Month. The events were designed to engage, educate, and celebrate for students, faculty, and staff.
For National Coming Out Day and Out at Ringling Week, the Peterson Counseling Center, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Student Volunteerism and Service-Learning, and Planned Parenthood hosted a Paws & Relax event, where students could pet puppies, make custom pride pins, and ask questions about sexual health and gender-affirming care. They hosted another button-making event in front of Cunniffe Commons, where passersby could pop in and participate during their lunch break.
At the Queer Dialogue event, originally scheduled for National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, but postponed to Oct. 18 due to bad weather, students made s’mores around a fire, while sharing their coming out stories, inspiring courage in each other. The student organizers of the event offered fun and thoughtful questions to break the ice, asking, “Who was your queer awakening crush? Who was the first person you came out to?” and “If you are planning on coming out, do you have any questions for those who have already come out?”
Student organizer Zeta Bengoechea ’27, Illustration, shared their reflections on the event, “As a student worker in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, I’m happy to see how the College provides many spaces for students to not only be themselves but also support each other on their path of self-discovery and acceptance.”
On Oct. 27, which lands in Gender and Diversity week, the Center hosted a Lunch and Learn event, The Gender and Sexuality Studies Minor: A Critical Lens for Conceptualizing Diverse Projects in Creative Industries, with Professor and Curriculum Advisor of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Coordinator of the Gender and Sexuality Minor Dr. Iva Petkova. The talk introduced students to the Gender and Sexuality Studies minor and was open to all students, faculty, and staff.