Words by Nate Izzo
Illustrations by Katie Herchenroeder
Screenshots Courtesy of ccnylgbt on Instagram
The LGBT Open Alliance is the student organization that helps queer people establish a community at CCNY. It is in danger of being shut down.
The Safe Space, located in NAC 1/101B next to the Ballroom, is the main headquarters for the LGBT Open Alliance. The Alliance holds events there, but the room also acts as a place for queer people to commune, hang out, nap, study, and generally be open about their identities.
As an organization, the Open Alliance has expanded significantly in the past year, largely due to the work of its president, Jake Nill. Inspired to run by last year’s president, Imani Mendoza – who now serves as secretary – Nill wanted to continue the Alliance’s work of helping build a sense of community among queer people at this school.
“We have made the Open Alliance Club a more prominent force on campus,” Nill said. Nill continued, “Our club and members have strengthened their connections with LGBT+ and LGBT+ friendly organizations and services both on and off campus. A large part of our work and events focused around LGBT+ youth employment opportunities, healthcare access, and community empowerment.”
From events in collaboration with Planned Parenthood to drag shows, the Open Alliance holds an important role in helping City College’s queer community in a multitude of ways.
Unfortunately, the club’s days could be numbered, as eBoard elections are coming up, and there are not enough people running for offices to fill the four positions. If the Alliance does not get people to run for the offices of president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer, it will mean the dissolution of the Open Alliance and the indefinite end of the club.
The repercussions of this for CCNY’s queer community will be severe.
“In general, there is a need for a strong LGBT+ community,” Nill said. He also spoke about how starting on a small scale, a school club, makes it easier to navigate the real world. The Open Alliance provides that starting point.
But, as Nill stated, “How can queer youth feel prepared to face the larger world when they can no longer have access to any LGBT+ initial resources and LGBT+ community connections on campus?”
However, hope is not gone yet. Today, April 16th, is the last day to express interest in running for a position in this club. This can be done through this Google Form. On April 17th, candidates are announced, and on April 18th, elections will be held in the Safe Space from 12:30 to 1:30pm. Again, if there are not enough people running to fill the positions, the Open Alliance will be dissolved.
If you are an LGBTQ+ person and want to help make a difference for queer people on campus, you can consider running for a position. The LGBT Open Alliance has made many connections with organizations that provide resources for LGBTQ+ people. They have held countless events in the past year.