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From left: Wynn Andersen, incoming president of Students Beyond the Binary; Mylo Fisherman '23, former president of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance and founder and outgoing president of Students Beyond the Binary; Kenneth Cervantes-Dionisio, incoming senior and president of the Asian Students Intercultural Alliance.

These students are committed to serving the LGBTQIA+ community through the combined efforts of the Gender and Sexualities Alliance and Students Beyond the Binary.

Although the LGBTQIA+ community has gained acceptance and visibility over the past few years, there is still much to be done. At Adelphi, the organizations Students Beyond the Binary (SBB) and the Gender and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) were formed to give LGBTQIA+ students a safe space to connect and support one another, collaborate with other student organizations, and educate and raise awareness among the greater community on the hurdles the LGBTQIA+ community continues to face. The group also celebrates their identities by taking part in events such as National Coming Out Day, Pride in the Park and Adelphi’s annual Campus Pride March and Festival, and makes strides towards inclusion on behalf of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Continuing to Advocate as a Graduate Student

Mylo Fisherman ’23, who is now pursuing a master’s degree in elementary education, is the former president of GSA and founder and former president of SBB. As an undergraduate, he worked closely with those organizations, as well as with the coordinator of the Multicultural Center and the Adelphi Pride committee.

“This pride feels different than [that of] other years,” Fisherman said. “I feel like it puts into perspective the true purpose and meaning behind pride. The first pride was a riot [against police brutality in New York City] and we are still constantly fighting for our rights even in 2023. While I still will be making my way to pride events across the island and in the city, I do fear a little bit about my safety this year more than years prior. A little bit of fear won’t be enough to stop me from demonstrating my pride.”

Despite the obstacles off campus, Fisherman feels that Adelphi has been “very receptive” to changes brought up by LGBTQIA+ students on campus.

Committed to the Next Chapter of Students Beyond the Binary

Wynn Andersen, a sophomore art major, succeeds Fisherman as president of SBB. He said that the trans-focused organization is a space for any student, regardless of membership status, to come with issues they experience on campus, emphasizing that diverse people and mindsets are key to driving SBB’s inclusive agenda.

“Increasing visibility of LGBTQIA+ individuals means a consistent dialogue between queer and cis and/or hetero people,” Andersen said. “Being seen is not just about being shown to others, it’s about understanding. Encouraging curiosity, respect and learning are always priorities. For much of the community, visibility is about representation. Whether it be in media, the job market, education or any other space, being represented shows us that we deserve to take up space in society.”

Building a Strong Community

River Gorman, a junior majoring in psychology and minoring in both child and family studies and gender and sexuality studies, also serves on the e-boards of GSA, Active MindsAccessible Community Centered for Empowering Student Success (ACCESS) and the Artivism Club.

Speaking on GSA’s message of creating a safe space for people of all genders and sexualities to “have fun and learn more” about LGBTQIA+ matters, Gorman said, “One of my personal goals is to increase attendance in order to build a strong community.”

Overcoming Barriers

Even with more LGBTQIA+ advocates throughout the United States gaining stronger and more influential voices in recent years, there are always hurdles that persist, and SBB and GSA are hoping to both acknowledge and address solutions to overcome them.

“While there’s always more progress to be made,” Gorman continued, “I believe Adelphi has done a good job at allowing people to express their queer identity, such as having the option to have your preferred name in the system and in your email.”

Andersen also spoke on the topic of ongoing issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community. “The violence that trans people are being subjected to is absolutely horrifying, and it breaks my heart that even within some queer or progressive spaces, the very existence of transgender people is still being denied. The transgender community is a wonderfully vibrant and diverse group, yet the most vulnerable of us struggle to find comfort in community out of fear of rejection or apathy. We must look out for one another and support those who need help.”

“To anyone who needs to hear it: This month is for you,” Andersen said. “Don’t let anybody dull your shine!”

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