The Student Government Association appointed freshman Navidra Hardin as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) commissioner on Tuesday afternoon. Six commissioner seats still remain open.
Navidra said in addition to his involvement in the LGBT community at his Catholic high school, he volunteered for the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group working to ensure the basic rights of the LGBT community. He attempted to establish a Gay-Straight Alliance chapter at his high school, which Navidra said failed due to lack of attention. Navidra said that his school was already very accepting and open, which he said inspired him to continue his work when he came to Emerson.
Despite past gradings by The Princeton Review marking Emerson the top-ranking LGBT-friendly college, Navidra said he thinks there are still some issues that need to be tackled.
“Emerson can be completely gay friendly,” said Navidra. “But if someone is facing marginalization at home, that’s not going to change, so we need to face that reality of it—that people have families that aren’t very accepting, as well.”
Navidra said his main goal is to dispel stereotypes involving gays and religion.
“There are those who face the stigma of religious gay people. They are even faced with criticisms from the gay community,” said Navidra. “‘How can you be religious and gay?’ I know I’ve made that argument several times, but it’s time to get over that stigma.”