The Pride Team aims to help students feel comfortable in their identities across campus and has begun holding events to do just that.
Being pulled over was a realization moment for Ayven Hunt several years ago.
Hunt, a transgender man who recently wrapped up attending Schoolcraft College, was driving with his learner’s permit with his mother in the car when he was pulled over by a police officer. During the stop, his mother began looking frantically through the glove box for the vehicle’s registration, but not fast enough for Hunt, who was feeling frustrated in the moment. He then quickly grabbed the paper from her hand to offer it to the officer, who then asked his mother to step outside the car.
Unknown to him what that was all about, Hunt — who also works with the Plymouth/Canton Chapter of PFLAG, an LGBTQ+ advocate group — a asked his mother when she returned. She told him the officer asked her if she was safe with Hunt, a statement that made Hunt realize how different it would be after transitioning. Had he been viewed as his mother’s daughter and not her son, Hunt said, the interaction would have looked a lot different.
“My mom told me that domestic abuse against women is such a large problem that me swiping that registration out of her hand was enough for that officer to feel like he should confirm that my mom was safe,” said Hunt, who plans to begin classes at the University of Michigan this fall. “That was the moment that I realized how much different society viewed me.”
Hunt’s story was just one of the many items discussed during a recent Sip and Chat event held June 22 in the Bradner Library. The event was significant, as it marked the first on-campus event put on by the College’s Pride Team.
The organization’s goals include helping to make students feel comfortable in their identities, including through support of not just other students but employees at Schoolcraft College as well, said Catreese Qualls, IDEA Research Assistant in the Office of Equity and Engagement.
“We hope for this to grow into something much larger,” she said. “I am truly hoping that we will have the support of each department, members that want to come on and support. Because it’s important that when we say we want students to feel welcome, that we want faculty, administration, staff, their families to feel important on campus, we need to be doing. Because change is an action word.”
The Pride Team began their work attending the first-ever Pride Celebration and Resource Fair held at the Livonia Civic Center, providing materials and resources to attendees.
The team will host another event to mark Pride Month called “Looking Back and Moving Forward,” an online panel discussion that will take place from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. June 28. There, local LGBTQIA+ leaders will discuss what it means to look back and forward both historically and personally.
Feature photo: Ayven Hunt, a former Schoolcraft College student who plans to begin classes at the University of Michigan in the fall, speaks about his experience as a transgender man at a recent event held in the Bradner Library.