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LGBT Resource Center celebrates Pride Month amid COVID

Kaitlyn Bowers, Video Director

June is known around the US for two things: the beginning of summer and Pride Month. Usually, this combination leads to large gatherings to honor the Stonewall riots of 1969 and celebrate what it means to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community. But what do you do when there’s a pandemic spreading through the country?

The timing of the pandemic offered a unique challenge to the resource center: the director, Manuel Velasquez, had joined the center’s team only 2 months before school went off campus. 

Despite this hurdle, UNF’s LGBT Resource Center is determined to still be accessible to students during Pride Month and beyond.

“The biggest issue to keep in mind is that for many of our LGBTQ+ students, UNF provides them with the opportunity to be their true selves. Many may not even be out to their parents, relatives and/or friends,” said Velasquez. “Some of our students may be facing homophobia/transphobia from their family back home, so we had to come up with a clear plan to assist them virtually and to give them a virtual space to feel a sense of belonging.”

This plan has included virtual office hours, opportunities to make appointments with the center’s staff, and virtual chat rooms for LGBTQ+ students. The center also holds a support group every Monday at 3 p.m. in conjunction with the Counseling Center for LGBTQ+ students.

In terms of Pride Month, the center has several Zoom meetings planned to commemorate the month. Each Wednesday at 2 pm, there will be a virtual discussion called Loud Lounge that discusses various topics such as microaggressions in the black and brown LGBTQ+ communities and domestic violence. 

The center will also continue holding a “Flex Fest” weekly, which is a virtual party that consists of chatting with fellow students while watching movies on Netflix. However, during the month of June, LGBTQ+ documentaries will be the focus. Here is a list of the dates and films:

  • June 5: The Death & Life of Marsha P Johnson
  • June 12: We will go dark to commemorate Pulse
  • June 19: All In My Family
  • June 26: A Secret Love

On behalf of the LGBT Resource Center, Manuel Velasquez has also been invited to make presentations for several different Pride events. Velasquez will give a presentation on the importance of pronouns and another on how to have a more inclusive workplace. Similar presentations will be given to SEGrocers. A special presentation will also be given to Prospanica (The National Society of Hispanic MBAs) on “Preserving Your LGBTQ Identity in a Pandemic.

For a full list of the LGBT Resource Center’s events, click here. 

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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