Malcolm Palmer

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Two student groups at Winthrop University, the Sexuality and Gender Equality (or SAGE) club and the NAACP, hosted a cultural event last month that gave students an opportunity to discuss LGBTQ culture, as it relates to minorities and intersectionality on campus.

The event, Oct. 12 in the Richardson Ballroom, was entitled, “The Sexuality of Color: A Discussion of Blackness, Queerness and Intersectionality at Winthrop.”

“Just to make sure that we understand that this is a conversation starter. No one is leaving here tonight as an expert in any of these three things,” said Dr. Brandon Ranallo-Benavides, an assistant professor of political science at Winthrop, whose areas of research also includes LGBTQ studies, social marginalization and community empowerment.

Benavides gave a presentation covering queer culture, the existence of privilege in the LGBTQ community and the importance of remembering the people of color, who have paved the way for gender equality for all races.

There was also a panel of students who discussed and highlighted some of the issues that LGBTQ people of color face on campus.

“For what? You kind of have to ask yourself more questions, because I think by having a preference right away, then it kind of makes you minimize the experience of other people,” said Skylar Allen, a student panelist at the event, when asked about having a sexual preference.

Winthrop NAACP President Samson Demissie said he is grateful Winthrop holds events like these.

“Social inequality is something that is faced by so many different types of minorities, not only just racial and ethnic like the NAACP typically focuses on, but also it could be sexual discrimination, it could be gender discrimination, it could be class related, it could be religion, nationality, immigration. There’s so many different things,” Demissie said.

Leaders from SAGE and the NAACP said they hope to continue to collaborate and host similar events in the future, in order to spark important conversations around campus and also give students a chance to speak to faculty about the way they feel about their college experience.