COURTESY OF ALYSSA WOODEN
Show Your Love sought to support the Hopkins LGBTQ community.
This week, the Office of LGBTQ Life launched their Show Your Love campaign, in which they invited students to show their support for the LGBTQ community by wearing rainbow ribbons around campus. Students could pick up these ribbons from over 30 sites on campus.
The Office of LGBTQ Life provides support, education and advocacy for the LGBTQ community. This campaign, in part, encompasses all of these imperatives.
Demere Woolway, the director of LGBTQ life, explained how she got the idea for the campaign.
“The idea came from a conversation with Community Council, which includes representatives from the different LGBTQ organizations across Hopkins,” she said. “We have folks from the Applied Physics Lab, from the Gertrude Stein society over at the med campus, as well as Homewood students. We were talking about what it would mean to do something really big and really visible.”
Woolway said that she wanted to put on one big demonstration of support for the community.
“There were many people who wanted to be allies to the community but didn’t necessarily know how,” she said. “We wanted to make a really low barrier for entry, make it really easy to show your support and just pull as many people along as we could.”
According to Woolway, this campaign is part of the Office of LGBTQ Life’s general emphasis on providing a multitude of ways to get involved. Woolway believes that providing opportunities that have varying amounts of commitment increases total support and engagement.
“We’re always interested in anything that helps students engage with the community, whether that is through creating small group discussions or whether that’s through large scale programs with speakers, or our educational programs,” she said. “We just try to provide many different ways for engaging. And that’s why Show Your Love is great, because it’s a small thing that’s available for anyone to participate in.”
Still, Woolway recognizes the potential dangers of students simply posing, or performing, as allies of the LGBTQ community. She feels as though events like these become performative when people do them because they feel like they have to. However, she stressed that the LGBTQ community gives those who want to help and support an avenue to do so, which she believes is good.
The campaign culminated in a celebration Wednesday afternoon to thank people for their support. The celebration was held in Mattin, and the room was decorated with rainbow banners and flags. The Office brought cookies, cupcakes and candy, as well as arts and crafts.
Students were encouraged to come, hang out and build community. Freshman Brittany Zak described her experience at the event.
“They had a really good spread and a lot of art activities,” she said. “It’s nice to have an event specifically to show your love in the gay community. I feel really comfortable with DSAGA [Diverse Sexuality And Gender Alliance] and the Office of LGBTQ Life.”
Other students shared a similar sentiment. Some, like freshman Jason Souvaliotis, appreciated the community the Office has cultivated.
“Getting to know people better who are in similar communities as you is just good,” he said.
Zak expanded on why the LGBTQ community at Hopkins is so special to her.
“There was no such thing as the gay community at my old high school, so it’s really cool to come here and see professors acknowledging that this group exists and that we have a right to be here,” she said.
With over 2,100 ribbons distributed, many feel that the campaign was a success. Woolway plans on continuing to advocate for long-term institutional changes, as well as adding more ways for people to engage with the LGBTQ community.