JACKIE MERCADANTE ’17
October is LGBTQQI History Month. As such, every year members of Encouraging Respect Of Sexualities (EROS) host an Ally Week in mid-October on Trinity’s campus. The week always includes National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. To kick off Ally Week this year, members of EROS performed a chalking of the campus, writing pro-LGBTQQI phrases all over Trinity’s grounds in order to help raise support and visibility for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Throughout the week, many different events were held all around campus in order to encourage students to get involved.
On Monday Oct. 10 students were invited to join EROS and the Underground Coffeehouse for an Open Mic Night. The film Call Me Kuchu was screened in the common room of the Fred on Wednesday Oct. 12. The film is set in Uganda, where openly gay David Kato and his fellow activists work to defeat new legislation in their country that would make homosexuality punishable by death. The following night, on Oct. 13, weekly Thursday night Trivia in Vernon Social was given an Ally Week twist by having a gay trivia theme. Then, on Friday, on Vernon Street the Residential Life community sponsored a “Get Your Pride On!” event at Vernon Social, which included tie-dye, face-painting, and food for the students. Afterwards, EROS held a rainbow dinner open to all students in the Washington Room, and served Mediterranean food during the event. Later that night, students were invited to join EROS at Cleo of Alpha Chi for their annual Stoplight Party. This party allowed attendees to display their relationship status. Partygoers were urged to wear the color red to signify that they were taken, yellow to show their relationship status was complicated or green to indicate that they were single.
Finally, on Saturday, Trinity students were invited to kick off the weekend by attending Pride Fest. There were Ally Week themed arts and crafts at the event, including painted pride messages to be put up in the Queer Resources Center.
Ally Week is meant to be an opportunity for students to express their support for the LGBTQQI members of their community and engage in a conversation about how to become a better ally and stand against bullying or harassment. It is intended to foster an accepting and inclusive community at Trinity.
Unfortunately, students received an email midway through the week informing them of several reports that were made of defacement and removal of the Ally Week chalkings and posters displayed around campus. Further reports were made of hostile comments being directed at students as they wrote on the pavements. Dean of Students Christopher Card expressed his disappointment about this situation in his email, stating that, “Such actions diminish us as a community, and we have a collective responsibility to reject such displays of intolerance and division.” He added that these few individuals’ actions, “do not represent our community’s values or beliefs and will not deter our efforts to build a diverse and inclusive community.”
When asked for a comment on the situation, Dean of Campus Life Joe DiChristina said, “We very much appreciate and value the work of EROS to develop and promote Ally week. Events like this are an important part of building a robust and caring community. Any behaviors that are hurtful and create an unwelcoming environment will not be tolerated by our community. I encourage our students to attend the events and show their support and care for all of our students.” EROS could not be reached for comment.
JACKIE MERCADANTE ’17