New ‘Safe Space’ Opened by FIU Honors Pride Club

Members of the FIU Honors College Pride Club pose for a photo to celebrate the opening of the Pride Center, a 'safe space' for the LGBTQ+ community at FIU in GL 310A. Nichana Miller/PantherNOW

Nichana Miller/Contributing Writer

The Honors Pride Center opened its doors for all FIU students on Oct. 2 inside the Steven and Dorothea Green Library (GL).

The Pride Center was created by students of the Honors College who wanted to support the LGBTQ+ community at FIU.

During the opening ceremony, Juan Carlos Espinosa, the dean of the Honors College, said that he was “approached by a number of queer students from the Honors College,” whom said that “there was no safe space for the group to meet.”

Espinosa and his team decided to make the Honors College study room in GL 310A available to both the Honors Pride Club and other LGBTQA+ organizations.

“I’m very pleased that we are the first ones, but at the same time I’m not pleased that we are the first ones to do it,” Espinosa said.

The dean shared that he’s glad he can offer the space to a “hardworking group of people” that were able to put something together to serve FIU students.

Juan Carlos Espinosa, dean of the FIU Honors College, speaks at the opening ceremony of the Honors Pride Center alongside members of the Honors Pride Club. Nichana Miller/PantherNOW

Although the Honors Pride Center is run by Honors College students, it is available to all FIU students.

Espinosa said that opening the center is a big deal because most of the student organizations on campus don’t have their own exclusive space or office.

Amelia Leon, an ambassador of the Honors Pride Center, said that she and her colleagues were inspired to create a space for LGBTQ+ students after learning that Florida State University has its own Pride Center and FIU did not.

“We wanted to provide a safe space for FIU queer students and really anyone that wants to be involved,” Leon said.

About three years ago, when she first came out, Leon felt like there was more that could be done at FIU to support the LGBTQ+ community.

“We were able to add more things to FIU to make it more inclusive and a safer space for people of all kinds,” she said.

She mentioned how proud and inspired she is by how far the LGBTQA+ movement has progressed on campus.

Members of the Honors Pride Club prepare to cut the opening ribbon to the Honors Pride Center, a safe space for LGBTQ+ members at FIU. Nichana Miller/PantherNOW

A member of the Honors Pride Club celebrates the opening of the Honors Pride Center, a safe sspace for LGBTQ+ members at FIU. Nichana Miller/PantherNOW

“You are absolutely welcome to come,” says Leon to anyone that is interested in visiting the Honors Pride Center. “Just stop by and check it out. We want people to come and feel like they’re heard.”

While the space will still be available to Honors College students as a study room, the Honors Pride Center can also be used as a venue for events, club meetings and a hangout spot.

The Center will also offer any support, answers and information LGBTQA+ students may be in search of.

The Honors Pride Club will meet at the Center in GL310A every other Thursday from 1 to 2 p.m. Their first club meeting was held on Thursday, Oct. 3.

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