Cerritos College celebrates OUTober

Cerritos College’s LGBTQ+ program hosts allyship workshop in participation of the OUTober event series, exploring facets such as gender, gender expression and sexuality.
The LGBTQ+ ally progress logo.
The LGBTQ+ ally progress logo.
Antonio Lavermon

Amidst contemporary challenges such as anti-LGBTQ legislation and unique obstacles the community faces, allyship becomes an important tool in building a more inclusive and supportive society.

In building a more inclusive and supportive campus, Cerritos Colleges’ LGBTQ+ program hosted an allyship workshop on Oct. 18 as a part of the OUTober event series, in honor of LGBTQ History Month and the importance of Halloween in queer history.

Presented in the Living Learning Center at 11:30 a.m., the event featured activity and emphasized the importance of understanding facets beyond sexual orientation, such as gender, gender expression, and intersectional experiences within the community.

“I feel that in order to fully understand or have a greater appreciation for the intersectional experiences that are out there, we need to be going deeper,” shared Antonio “Nío” Lavermon, event speaker and LGBTQ+ Program Facilitator and Liason.

Lavermon continued by saying that in a world that consistently changes, allyship too must shift to remain inclusive of all identities the community can be host to.

Paying careful attention to language, correct terminology and diction, Lavermon explored the four facets first by definition, then through stories as examples to illustrate the concepts.

The four facets of identity include; sex, which is used in a biological sense; gender, which refers to one’s sense of identity; expression, which entails behaviors, interactions and wardrobe; and sexuality, referring to one’s sexual orientation and/or identity.

Contenders were encouraged to at any point share personal stories of their own. Many of them were community members sharing stories similar to those highlighted in the workshop, illuminating how such disadvantages can impact those we walk by on campus.

To better illustrate many of such struggles faced by LGBTQ individuals, attendants were invited to participate in a coming-out star activity.

The individual’s first name was written in the center of a colored star, with each leg representing different aspects of a person’s life including family, friends, career, community and dreams.

Each color star corresponded with varying coming-out stories, highlighting three possible outcomes of complete acceptance from each leg (or personal aspect), moderate acceptance, or complete disapproval.

Each differing color was then prompted to either leave their star alone, fold the leg if moderate acceptance, or tear the leg off if complete disapproval.

As illustrated by Lavermon, and an unfortunate reality for many, “The more tabs that have been ripped off, the harder it is to reach that dream.”

For some group members, the activity provided personalized insight into a world they may not encounter. For others present, the activity recognized similar hardships within their own lives and welcomed feelings of affirmation.

“There are obstacles and there are barriers in society that I do have to overcome,” shared Ciel Martinez, a P.R.I.D.E. scholar in attendance at the event, “Being present in that workshop and seeing others participating really made me feel validated.”

Though many may not realize it, it is with great privilege that Cerritos College can host such workshops through a campus LGBTQ+ program.

As of May 2023, 70 anti-LGBTQ laws have been enacted, four of which targeted placing restrictions on school curricula.

Instead of prejudicial legislation, allyship becomes a beacon of hope and support, providing more than many may understand amid such volatile times.

“Right now in our world, we need to know who we can rely on for not just support, but safety, confidence, community building and family,” Lavermon shared.

“That is what allyship lends itself to, to those spaces. […] If we can rely on something or someone like an ally, for one person that can literally make the whole world of a difference.”

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About the Contributor
Layla Hernandez, Staff Writer
Layla Hernandez is a staff writer for Talon Marks covering arts and community. Hernandez enjoys reading, listening to music, spending time with friends and writing. They hope to transfer to San Francisco State University in 2024 and one day travel writing about art.
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