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Editorial: Accessible resources are essential for the local LGBTQ+ community

Editorial%3A+Accessible+resources+are+essential+for+the+local+LGBTQ%2B+community
Marian Mahasantipiya

Ithaca is often painted as a progressive town full of acceptance and inclusivity, particularly when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community. While this acceptance can be seen in the attitudes and beliefs of the local community, there is still a need for more accessible resources and spaces for the queer community.

The Ithaca Pride Alliance (IPA) was founded Nov. 15 in the hopes of making LGBTQ+ resources and events more widely available. Since opening under the Tompkins Chamber Foundation, the organization has hosted events, provided education and generally offers a broad net of support for the LGBTQ+ community. The founding of this organization marks a shift toward a more united and supported community.  

Ithaca is a place steeped in queer history. In 1969, the Student Homophile League was founded at Cornell University, marking the second publicly gay student organization in the U.S. In 1972, the first formal statement about bisexuality happened at Ithaca College. In 2004, 25 same-sex couples sued the town of Ithaca for denying their marriage applications in the case Seymour v. Holkomb, making national news. This rich queer history of Ithaca only reiterates the importance of community-driven LGBTQ+ organizations like the Ithaca Pride Alliance.

At the college, students are fortunate to have a host of resources for LGBTQ+ students. The Center for LGBT Education, Outreach, & Services located in Towers Concourse acts as a physical safe space for students, hosts events and provides extensive education. Student organizations like PRISM center young people in their activism and allow students to voice their thoughts, concerns and joy about being queer. These resources are essential to creating a safe space for LGBTQ+ students on campus. And yet, it is important to remember that these resources can become exclusionary if they are only accessible to those pursuing higher education. While these resources are a necessity, they are not sufficient in addressing the needs of Ithaca as a whole.

The amount of acceptance and joy for queer people in Ithaca is certainly something to be proud of. However, attitudes must translate to action. While the college provides a multitude of support options for LGBTQ+ students, there should never be a barrier between students and community members when it comes to accessible resources.  Organizations like the Ithaca Pride Alliance are essential to creating a welcoming and safe environment for all LGBTQ+ community members. 

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Marian Mahasantipiya, Cartoonist
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