Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Campus Corner: Flo Valley Lets Its Friendly Colors Fly

by Terence Monroe

On the campus of St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley there are a wide assortment of clubs and groups to join. They all have a different focus and that is what makes them all unique. Only one focuses on sexuality and that group is the Friendly Colors group. This is a group built on not judging others because of their sexual preference. This is a group that some would call safe and a group that is needed.

Friendly Colors have been around for the last 15 years at Florissant Valley. Jeff Papier, Sarah Blackwell-Hardin and Glenna Wentworth are the co-sponsors for this club. Not only are they involved in the group but they also have regular jobs on campus. Blackwell-Hardin and Wentworth are a constant fixture on campus sponsoring club events. Friendly colors is a group for LGBT (Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) which offers a safe space so students can be who they are and talk openly and discuss about their lives or anything else that they feel is important. 

The group, which meets every Wednesday from 3p.m. to 4p.m. on the lower level of the Student Center in PDR-C develops friendships with others who may be dealing with the same thing. In the group they also learn about politics relating to the laws of same sex marriages, which has become accepted in some states.

Friendly Colors gets as much recognition as other groups thanks in part to the facility and staff on campus. That just shows how far Friendly Colors has come since they first start 15 years ago when the words gay or lesbian were words that were meant to be offensive and hurt another person’s feelings.

“The students in the group are just like other students except for their sexual preference”, Papier stated. Papier has been a sponsor of Friendly Colors for four years now and since then he has seen an increase in attendance and in active activities that the club is involved in. In 2011, Friendly Colors was involved in six different events. In 2012, the number rose to eight events. 

The most notable event was the Day of Silence in April of last year. Some may recall students walking around with pieces of duck tape on their mouths. That is just one way of showing support for LGBT. The others are being silent and wearing buttons. The biggest event would have to be the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference which occurs every year. This is where colleges from all over the Midwest meet at a designated area and enjoy a three-day conference that will begin on March 27, 2013. 

The next event that Friendly Colors will be a part of is Equality Day. This event is where students take a trip to the state capitol Jefferson City and lobby the Missouri representatives in hopes to help get equal laws passed for all. It must be said, that this group is not just for lesbians, gays, bisexuals or the transgender, it’s for all. Students or faculty members can be a part of this group and not be anyone of those things, the group calls those allies. If interested, feel free to contact any of the co sponsors and become the club. Become a part of this group which is making a difference for others.

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