Reflecting on four years in Ithaca’s LGBTQ and Allied Community
By Isabel Galupo
Ithaca College has consistently ranked in the “Top 25 Most LGBT-Friendly Colleges and Universities” in the United States, according to the Campus Pride Index. The college has received 5 out of 5 possible stars in terms of policy inclusion, campus safety, and student life, among other factors. I am proud to say that I have been an active member of the college’s supportive, dynamic, and literally award-winning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community for the past four years.
As a freshman, I dove into everything the college’s LGBT community had to offer, and have since worked to find my niche in the queer community. My interests in community service and media — as fostered by the Park Scholar Program — allowed me to get involved in rewarding ways. I have acted as a volunteer ZAP! Panelist since my first semester at IC, and now serve as a co-coordinator of the program. The ZAP! Panel program aims to “put a name to the face” by having panelists talk openly about their sexual orientations and gender identities. Through my position as an LGBT Center student worker, I actively engage with a variety of media forms; I created and currently maintain the center’s Twitter account (follow us @iclgbt!) and currently facilitate the annual LGBT Film Series.
I plan to use everything I have learned in my four years of volunteering, working, and speaking with other LGBTQ and Allied students to inform my media career after college. I want to continue to push LGBTQ-visibility in TV, film, and other media forms by writing scripts that feature dynamic, three-dimensional queer characters at the center of narrative action. I want to de-stigmatize same-sex parent families by creating stories for children that acknowledge the enormous number of healthy, non-traditional family structures that exist in our country today. I want our beautifully complex community experiences to be reflected accurately in the entertaining and educational media that we consume daily.
While I am proud of the community-and-career-building work that I have accomplished, the relationships that I’ve built with other extremely talented and passionate faculty, staff, and students involved in the LGBT community are the most important things that I will carry with me after graduation. Luca Maurer, the Director of the LGBT Center, has been an incredibly important part of my time here, acting as my part-time therapist, part-time boss, and full-time supporter. I am extremely grateful to have worked with Elisabeth Nonas, Chair of the Cinema and Photography Department and professor of Screenwriting, who encourages me to pursue the LGBT-centric stories that I am drawn to and who always urges her students to write from the heart. The Park Scholar Program’s own Matt Fee has validated my interests and helped me foster a connection between media, volunteer work, and my passion for the LGBTQ community. All of the friends — queer and allied alike — that I’ve made along the way have kept me grounded and sane throughout the whirlwind of emotions that is college.
The love and support that I’ve found within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community here at Ithaca College have shaped who I am as a student, an aspiring media professional, and a queer woman, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have experienced all that I have in just four short years!