By Michael O’Malley
The word “spectrum” may have a few different meanings to you, but during the month of October, students and faculty were paying attention to SPECTRUM, St. Bonaventure University’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and asexual alliance.
SPECTRUM promotes acceptance of all LGBT+ individuals and raises awareness of issues facing LGBT+ individuals, the group is part of St. Bonaventure’s Damietta Center and Pride Center, an association of gay-straight alliances in Western New York.
Additionally, SPECTRUM provides peer support to LGBT+ students and has organized and participated in “Day of Silence” and “Coming Out Week” events, open forums and discussions about current events. SPECTRUM hosts various events throughout the school year to educate the campus community about LGBT+ topics such as coming out, community acceptance and health and wellness concerns.
“This month is extremely important for the LGBT+ community. It’s a time to come together and recognize all sexualities across the spectrum,” shares Bryce Spadafora, a journalism and mass communication major and Treasurer of SPECTRUM. “This month is also a chance to remember all the people who fought for this community and are still fighting.”
SPECTRUM helped to sponsor National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11 by setting up a table with large banners people could sign demonstrating their pride with and/or support of the LGBT+ community in the dining hall, one of the events held for the aforementioned Awareness Month.
Co-Vice President of SPECTRUM Juette Joseph said, “I would say LGBT issues are not treated fairly because they are not addressed. It’s a topic that a lot of people tip toe around and to improve that, we can talk about it. Discussion doesn’t hurt, even if you have a small question, ask it. Or don’t be afraid to participate in activities that SPECTRUM holds or ask about the activities (Why are you guys having this? What is this about?),”
“I believe LGBT awareness month to genuinely be a large step forward for equality, said Joseph. “Although a lot of people may not take this month seriously or disregard it, for others this is a big deal. It is a form of acknowledgment for a group of people that have been hated on, discriminated against and even ignored.”
Joseph’s co-Vice President, Alicia Maldonado, also had comments on the way LGBT+ issues are handled on the Bonaventure campus.
“Personally, I haven’t witnessed many issues but if there are I would hope that the university would treat it fairly. The one issue would be that I would like them to show same sex couples in the Bonaventure Alumni Magazines when it comes to weddings,” Maldonado shares. “This year we are trying to do some new events and get more of the campus involved. What does this month mean to you? LGBT Awareness Month is extremely important to me. Personally, I feel like I can be who I am without any remarks from other people.”
As SPECTRUM’s mission statement says, “Through all of its activities, Spectrum honors the Catholic-Franciscan tradition by advocating for respect of the dignity of all people. We encourage interested students to join Spectrum. Whether you identify as LGBT or you are a straight ally, we appreciate everyone’s interest and involvement. Members can hang out at club meetings or help plan events, lead discussions and move into leadership positions based on their levels of interest and participation. All members of this club are treated with respect regardless of their gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.”