As a soon-to-be 2018 graduate of N.C. Central University, I wanted to reflect on my years here through the lens of not only a black, but also queer student—myself. I highly recommend NCCU as a first-choice institution for other black queer students because of its resources, community and the advancements the school to be inclusive of its LGBT community.
The wants and needs of LGBT peoples have been silenced for years especially in the black community; in contrary, in the midst of finding my voice throughout my journey here, I have found a home.
NCCU is one of only two HBCUs in the nation to have a fully staffed LGBT center and the first in North Carolina. NCCU’s center was opened in 2009 and has been going strong for nearly a decade headed by Jennifer Williams. The center has brought about amazing programming including Welcome Wednesdays, Transgender Awareness Week as well as the first Drag Show on NCCU’s which I had the pleasure of being a production assistant in. These various programs have been a huge part in making me and other LGBT students feel represented and loved.
I served as Mister COLORS which is the LGBT student organization on campus for the 2017-2018 school year and I hosted Men Around the Table which was a biweekly meeting between gay, bisexual and trans men. We got together and spoke about the issues our specific demographic faced and our place on campus and society. Many young men would join and finally feel a space of unity within the queer community. The meetings are now held by current Mister COLORS DeAndre Barnes.
I also participated in Kaleidoscope which is the LGBT living learning community on campus. It is headed by Area Coordinator Sidney Rice. Kaleidoscope was a great experience because I got to actually live with other LGBT men. We also held multiple retreats and monthly meetings as well as workshops.
All of these resources have led to me having an amazing undergraduate experience as an LGBT student and me celebrating my identity like never before. I have become nothing but confident in my sexuality and I know NCCU can do the same for so many other students.
As I prepare to walk across the stage in December I would like to thank all of the faculty, students and NCCU in itself for allowing queer students like myself to find a place where they can break free from society’s stigmas and be themselves with no remorse.