Poly Pride's First CNY Pride Conference
Two weeks ago, Poly Pride had their first annual CNY Pride conference held at SUNY Poly. The conference consisted of two speakers Robyn Ochs and Gabrielle Hermosa, lunch, the option of SafeZone training or a Bystander Intervention workshop and a drag show in the campus center gym to finish the night off. Robyn gave two presentations, one on non-binary sexuality and one on being Bi+, while Gabrielle gave one presentation on “Trans*forming the world around you”. The conference was centered around the topic of molding the world around you and teaching attendee’s on how to change the world, one step at a time. I had the opportunity of not only attending the conference, but as Treasurer of Poly Pride, I was given the opportunity to plan it as well.
Recently, SUNY Poly has been hosting more student-run events that have been promoting diversity and making a difference, both on campus and in the real world. With the world changing around us, in both positive and negative ways, it’s important to recognize the leadership positions that each individual person possesses and utilizing these strengths to promote change. Speaking from the lens of a bisexual individual, this pride conference was necessary in informing the community that there are not just binary ways of looking at gender and sexuality, while showing them ways that they could be either good allies or members of the LGBTQ+ community. Specifically, I thought that the SafeZone training was a beneficial session to include, as many people are not SafeZone trained and were not educated in some of the more specific ways to combat both internalized and externalized homophobia. One of the speakers, Robyn Ochs, spoke about how regardless of sexual orientation, people’s sexual and romantic attractions can vary. I found that this particular statement that she made was important because it included individuals of all sexual orientations. Often when individuals look at the LGBTQ+ community and their spaces/events, they only see it as a place for people who correspond with nonbinary sexualities like bisexual, pansexual, etc. However, by making this the focal point of the presentation, individuals are involved who might not be included in this community.
A pride conference not only affects members of the LGBT community, but the movement for equality and progress of all individuals. By participating in, what is hoped to be, an annual conference on campus, students are taking the first steps to introduce diversity and education about such topics to individuals who may otherwise be uninvolved. Upon attending this conference, I discovered the amount of individuals who are interested in such topics, but had little to no prior knowledge about them. This is a key aspect to note when thinking about education and ignorance, many are ignorant not by choice but by circumstance. Due to the implementation of this conference, some individuals became more informed and interested in some topics, which truly correlates to molding the world around you. If more people are educated, then less people will be offended by the words and actions of others.
As college students it’s our job to make sure the world is something we can be proud of and live in both comfortably and happily. Regardless of whether you find yourself to be a member of the LGBTQ community or not it’s important to remember that other individuals among you who might. If the world isn’t a safe or comfortable place for them, then your job isn’t truly completed. By initiating the first of many pride conferences at the SUNY Poly campus, Poly Pride has helped progress the ultimate goal of equality for all students.