One Love Promotes Acceptance of LGBT Community


Advisor Owen Pillion and member of One Love

By Fabiola Marzano

One Love, an organization at the College of Southern Nevada, supports the openness and acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. One Love held a special film screening and discussion panel on March 25 to bring awareness to the LGBT community, in hopes of deepening understanding.

The film “Before Stonewall”, an American documentary made in 1984, was about the history of the gay and lesbian community before the 1969 Stonewall riots. Back then, gay rights were not afforded and being gay was not accepted in society. Doctors, in that era, thought being gay was a mental illness.

After Stonewall, the gay rights movement launched and the plight for equality continues today.

President Barack Obama commented on Stonewall during his inaugural address in January 2013. He stated, “We the people declare today that the most evident of truths, that all of us are created equal. The star that guides us still: just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall; to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.”

Individual freedom is what One Love is fighting for.

Owen Pillion, professor at CSN and advisor of the club, said that One Love started with one member in 2009. That student wanted to find a place he belonged.

“I get phone calls and emails from students who are craving a place to have people like them,” Pillion said. “I love it when straight people attend our group, as well, because it is not just a gay group.” The group has 30 members who attend meetings and over 100 students on the mailing list, according to Pillion.

One Love partners with other organizations to discuss issues, plan events and fund raise. For example, during Women’s History Month Melodye Lehnerer, a CSN sociology professor, partnered with the club to present “Before Stonewall”.  After the movie, five panelists from One Love, including Kyra Hall and her girlfriend Amanda Shore, both CSN students, gave their thoughts and experiences on what it was like to come out about their sexualities.

Hall came out after attempting to date boys. She knew it didn’t work for her.

“The first time I tried to come out I was 14 and I told my mom I was in love with my best friend,” Hall said. Her mom responded, “You just came off a break up; you are just confused.” Then Hall said, “No mom, I know I’m not confused.”

Hall and Shore have been dating for nearly three years. They live together.

Shore had a difficult experience coming out to her family.

“I thought my mom was going to be ok with it but she freaked out and pushed me away,” Shore said. “We didn’t really talk and we fought all the time… She treated me differently… We are still really distant.”

Another student who attended the event David Alvarez, president of One Love club, shared his story about coming out. He had a positive experience.

“My family has always been supportive and I am proud of them,” Alvarez said. When asked how he feels about coming out and being the person he is, he said, “It feels great. Life just keeps getting better.”

Alvarez was part of the panel discussion. He shared his gratitude for the professors who hosted this event and for CSN’s support of such a diverse community.

Fabby 4

Panelists at event

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