LGBT Groups on the Rise in the Bronx

“Free to Be Me” club vice president Tiffany Medina, left, and Katherine Azmitia, secretary, plan the group’s upcoming rainbow flag installation. (Photo by Andee Tagle via Mott Haven Herald)

The first LGBT club at Hostos Community College in five years, “Free to Be Me,” holds its first official event on Nov. 21 – a ceremony to install a rainbow flag on the campus and describe what each color means. It is part of the group’s efforts to educate people in the Bronx about the community. In a Mott Haven Herald story on the club, Andee Tagle writes that when cabinet member Kevin Devonne collected signatures to start the club, he says about half of the 70 people who signed it were not familiar with the term “LGBT.”

(…) The group hopes that its educational programming and deliberately broad club name will help lift what Devonne described as the “negative social stigma” he and others say is often placed on the Bronx LGBTQ community.

“The oppression we have here is due to a lack of education,” said the group’s treasurer, 23-year-old Reynaldo Martinez.

Tagle notes that “despite these prevailing social, often-religious misconceptions,” LGBT organizations are on the rise in the Bronx. In addition to “Free to Be Me,” Destination Tomorrow and MOBI: Mobilizing Our Brother’s Initiative have recently started up in the South Bronx.

Go to Mott Haven Herald to find out more about the organizations, along with why, according to an “LGBT Equality Lawyer of the Year,” an ethnically diverse neighborhood “can make it even more difficult for LGBTQ individuals.”

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