Low-key graduation ceremony for “invisible” students

Simone Garvey-Ewan/Contributing Writer

FIU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Allies Organization is going further than just changing their profile pictures.

They’re hosting a Lavender Graduation for students of the LGBTQA recognized for their academic achievements, leadership and volunteer work to the general and FIU community.

“LGBTQA students are invisible here on campus,” said Gisela Vega, associate director of LGBTQA and organizer of the Lavender Graduation. “We want them to know that we care.”

Vega said that it is important to have a celebration that will recognize individuals outside of the regular graduating class for their achievements.

Charkivia Lovett, a graduate student and assistant for LGBTQA, said that students need a support system and the Lavender Graduation ceremony provides students with the perfect one.

“I recommend every LGBTQA student to participate in this ceremony,” said Lovett.

The ceremony is sponsored by organizations including the Stonewall Pride Alliance, Advocacy Coalition and Delta Lambda Phi — a predominantly gay, bisexual and progressive male fraternity.  The Medical Student Gay Straight Alliance is an organization who is in the process of becoming more involved with the ceremony, according to Vega.

“LGBQTA students face a lot of discrimination and bullying. At times they are disowned by their family and alienated by colleagues. Living with such a burden is a huge weight on an individual’s shoulders and graduating from college is very admirable,” said Stonewall Pride Alliance’s President Andrew Becerra-Mendheim, a junior political science and international relations major.

Becerra-Mendheim said LGBQTA students deserve recognition for their accomplishments since general student activities do not usually acknowledge them.

“This way, they know that they are special and that they are accepted,” said Becerra-Mendheim.

June is typically the nationwide Gay Pride Month but since school is not in session at this time, FIU has decided to denote April as being the month where LGBTQA events will take place in honor of gay pride.

The ceremony will take place Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4 p.m. in Graham Center Room 243.