CUNY LGBTQI+ Student Conference Held at LaGuardia Community College on International Transgender Day of Visibility

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (April 3, 2023)LaGuardia Community College/CUNY (LAGCC) and the CUNY LGBTQI+ Council co-hosted the second annual CUNY LGBTQI+ Student Conference on March 31, International Transgender Day of Visibility. The conference was held on the LAGCC campus.

More than 100 participants included LGBTQI+ students and their fellow student advocates from the 25 campuses of the City University of New York (CUNY), as well as Queer & Trans faculty, staff, and allies throughout CUNY. The theme was “Community, Advocacy, Power, and Healing.”

A keynote address was given by trans advocate Cecilia Gentili, who received a standing ovation for her speech about how community organization can be a way of healing against attacks on the LGBTQI+ community.

Additional remarks were given by City Council Member Tiffany Cabán (District 22), CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, LAGCC President Kenneth Adams, LAGCC Provost Dr. Billie Gastic Rosado, LAGCC Interim Associate Dean of Student Affairs Fay Butler, members of the CUNY LGBTQI+ Council, and current LGBTQI+ students at CUNY and CUNY alumni who identify as LGBTQI+.

“Visibility is key to show that we’re powerful, joyful and have something to offer the world every single day,” said Council Member Cabán.

“This conference is an important an opportunity for us to sit at the table and have a conversation about issues that can be difficult. I couldn’t be prouder that LaGuardia has provided this setting for the conference. Higher education is all about creating space for hard conversations, for additional learning, and for engaging with pride and with humility,” said Chancellor Rodríguez. “I am proud of the steps CUNY has taken as an institution and at each one of the campus, to advance the issues that are important to the LGBTQI+ community. We have first university-based center in the country dedicated to the history, culture, the power and struggles of the LGBTQI+ community, at the Graduate Center. But there’s also more work that needs to be done.”

“As LaGuardia’s provost and as a proud gay Latinx woman, it is my honor to welcome you to today’s conference,” said Dr. Gastic Rosado. “You are leaders and we need you. Everything you do to learn about what our community is experiencing in our city, in the country, and around the world, puts you in a better position to do something about it. I believe that we all have a responsibility to take notice, to care, and make a positive change where we can.”

Student speakers included Keys Rigual, a LAGCC computer science major, where they’re president and founder of the Queer And Fierce (Queer AF) student club, along with Landon Ranchor (LaGuardia’20, Human Services) now at the College of Staten Island.

“Knowledge is power. We’ve seen in recent months bills being pushed and passed that are directed on taking on the transgender community, and disguising them as protecting the children,” said Rigual.

Workshops were held throughout the day on topics relating to the conference theme, on leadership, and about how to create change on campus and within a community.

The event was made possible with support from LaGuardia Community College, the CUNY LGBTQI+ Council, the CUNY LGBTQIA+ Consortium, and the New York City Council Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Caucus.

LAGCC President Adams encouraged people to come out for the Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights on Sunday, June 4, 2023, where the CUNY LGBTQIA+ Consortium, co-led by LaGuardia Community College and Queens College, has been named a Grand Marshal. The CUNY LGBTQIA+ Consortium will lead the parade alongside NYC Council Member Shekar Krishnan, Council Member Linda Lee, Council Member Lynn Schulman, and Council Whip Selvena Brooks-Powers. “This is an honor for us,” said Dr. Allie Brashears, associate professor of biology and director of the CUNY LGBTQIA+ Consortium and LGBTQ+ Programs at LaGuardia. “The CUNY LGBTQIA+ Consortium was selected due to its outstanding work changing the lives of students, faculty, and staff throughout the university system through LGBTQIA+ programs, initiatives, and projects.” 

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LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), a Hispanic-Serving Institution, located in Long Island City, Queens offers more than 50 degrees and certificates, and more than 65 continuing education programs to educate New Yorkers seeking new skills and careers. As an institution of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his advocacy of underserved populations. Since 1971, LaGuardia’s academic programs and support services have advanced the socioeconomic mobility of students while providing them with access to a high quality, affordable college education.


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