Its ascent took less than 20 seconds, but for many in attendance today’s rainbow flag raising represents years of struggle, heartache and perseverance.
The ceremony included speeches by SDSU alumni, current students, faculty and staff. They acknowledged SDSU’s strong record in support of LGBTQ issues and celebrated recent achievements off campus, such as New York legalizing same-sex marriage.
Some also shared personal challenges they faced when becoming more open about their sexuality.
Event emcee Aaron Bruce, SDSU chief diversity officer – Among other notable things, Bruce said SDSU will likely become the second university in the United States to offer a major in LGBT studies.
Edith Benkov, SDSU associate vice president for faculty affairs – Benkov acknowledged the United Nations report on sexual orientation and gender identity and the New York legislature’s Marriage Equality Act. “This is progress,” she said.
Dwayne Crenshaw, executive director of San Diego Pride and an alumnus of SDSU – Crenshaw said the new academic programs and student organizations offer an “amazing opportunity” for students to more fully explore their identity.
SDSU alumnus Ben Cartwright – Cartwright said SDSU may not have always had a great reputation for supporting
LGBTQ causes, but in his years as a student and staff member he has seen a terrific transformation.
Cody Barbo, president of Associated Students – Barbo said he has become an advocate for LGBTQ issues thanks to his four years at SDSU. He said he met new people and was exposed to new ideas that provided a foundation for personal growth.
Channelle McNutt, diversity commissioner for Associated Students – McNutt, who helped organize the event and raise the flag, called the experience one of the most gratifying in her life.
Trish Hatch, director of the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership – Hatch encouraged educators to attend the center's internationally-recognized conference fore preparing counselors and teachers to prevent bullying and better serve as allies for LGBTQ youth.