In the spirit of Pride Month, we are spotlighting Ivory James, a rising junior majoring in psychology and student advocate within the Gender & Sexuality Center (GSC), a space on campus that’s dedicated to women and the LGBTQA+ communities.
What message would you like to share with members of the LGBTQ+ community?
Live as your true self! I know many of us have had to suppress parts of ourselves as we navigate our queerness, but ultimately this lifetime is for you. Life is way too short to live as someone you aren’t or hide what makes you you, so if you are able to safely do so, live unapologetically as who you feel is your true self, and I promise happiness will follow.
Do you have a favorite Pride Month tradition or celebration?
My favorite Pride Month tradition is buying from and promoting BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] and LGBTQ+ businesses and brands. Many big companies use this month as an opportunity to monetize off of the LGBTQ+ community by feigning support for one month and never speaking of it again until the next year (read about performance activism). Stay away from big corporations this month and support BIPOC and LGBTQ+ owned businesses! A couple of my favorites are myprideapparel.com and thtsoundsgayusa.com.
During this month of reflection, how can we all better support the LGBTQ+ community?
I think we all should be educating ourselves about those who paved the way for us! There are so many BIPOC LGBTQ+ folks who have quite literally put their lives on the line for LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance in society, many of whom we’ve never seen or heard of. Not only should we be learning more about BIPOC LGBTQ+ history – because Black history is LGBTQ+ history – we should also be using our platforms to encourage monetary support to mutual aid funds that work to improve the livelihood of the BIPOC LGBTQ+ community, such as the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, as well as bringing attention to BIPOC LGBTQ+ individuals seeking assistance on GoFundMe and other social media platforms.
More about the Gender & Sexuality Center
Since its inception in 2004, the center has grown into a major hub for student organizations, trainings and workshops, speaker events and various other activities. Interested in becoming an Ally, joining a student advocacy group or attending a LGBTQ+ training session? Go here to learn about the many opportunities and resources the GSC has to offer for students, faculty and staff.