BMCC Pride Month Honors the LGBTQ+ Community

BMCC celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month throughout October, and with one event in November

September 30, 2021

Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) provides services to the LGBTQIA+ community with trainings, campus resources and much more. Each year, BMCC also celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community with Pride Month, and this year’s Pride events span through October and extend to November.

Whether you are a student who wants to talk about identity, popular culture and many other topics, or a faculty/staff member interested in queer history or serving as a Pride Mentor, there is a Pride Month event set to create a supportive forum and connect you to the thriving LGBTQ community of students, faculty, staff and leadership at BMCC.

“Each October, BMCC comes together to celebrate BMCC Pride month and the LGBTQIA+ community,” says Dean Michael Hutmaker, who is chair of the Pride Month committee. “This year the BMCC Pride month committee put together a wide-range of programs led by faculty, staff and students to celebrate, support and inform, with some fun thrown in as well.  I want to especially thank the Pride Month co-chairs, Sheldon Applewhite, Kayla Bassknight, Beth Cooperman and Jennifer Longley for their tireless efforts in putting together this year’s Pride month celebration with members of the committee. We encourage all members of the BMCC community to join us.”

“I am happy to serve as a member of the LGBTQI  Pride Month  Committee,” said Pride Month co-chair, Sociology Professor Sheldon Applewhite. “After witnessing all the ups and downs we’ve experienced worldwide with the pandemic and politics, our responsibility as an institution should be to assure that all students have a seat at the table and will receive the support that they need in such troubling times, especially our LGBTQI students. As a Black queer man who came out at a time where I did not always feel safe or valued, it’s important to me to make sure that our students feel seen, valued, and are able to find their voice to express themselves.”

“As a queer educator, I have experienced firsthand the anxiety and fear of being open about my identity in public,” said Kayla Bassknight, Pride Month co-chair and Assistant Director of Student Activities and Civic Involvement in the Office of Student Activities. “I know many within the LGBTQIA+ community have felt the same, so it is important to me to have an active role in positively contributing, supporting and creating LGBTQIA+ visibility through the annual pride month events at BMCC. I want all students, faculty and staff to feel BMCC is a place where they can feel not only welcomed, but celebrated.”

Co-chair Beth Cooperman, a career specialist for ASAP at BMCC, has been part of the Pride Month Committee for the past five years. “I absolutely love the Pride family,” she says. “It is an amazing month of learning, expressing yourself and being there to support one another. The dedicated staff and students who help to make Pride Month great are some of the most passionate people I know! I look forward to it every year.”

Co-chair and Teacher Education Professor Jennifer M. Longley says, “At BMCC we celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride in October, which is LGBTQIA+ History Month, so that more members of the community can participate in events. BMCC LGBTQIA+ Pride Month events honor the rich history of the LGBTQIA+ community while celebrating the diversity of our students, staff and faculty. LGBTQIA+ Pride Month at BMCC fosters inclusivity, equity, and liberation for all members of the BMCC community.”

Kick-off event features André Thomas, first African-American male to serve as co-chair of NYC Pride

The Pride Month kick-off event on Thursday, October 7 will feature speakers including André Thomas, co-chair of NYC Pride.

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Thomas is a graduate of Yale University and a decorated United States Marine Corps veteran with multiple deployments. Prior to moving to New York City, he ran events for the Stonewall National Sports Tournament, produced events for Capital Pride and served as the Head of Production/Treasurer on the Board of the CHERRY Fund, the longest-running charity circuit event in the nation devoted to HIV and mental health/suicide prevention.

At Heritage of Pride he served as the Volunteer Captain for PrideFest, the largest LGBTQIA+ street festival in the world, and as Director of Pride Island, celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2021. Now, as the first African-American male elected to the position of co-chair of NYC Pride, Mr. Thomas is excited to shepherd the organization that serves as the steward of the Pride movement.

Events invite discussion on identity, labels, history, popular culture and more

The Pride Month kick-off event is preceded by an event in the LGBTQ and Women’s Health Series, Nutrition and Healthy Eating on October 6.

Pride Month: Queer History Discussion takes place after the Pride Month kick-off event on October 7 and is presented in partnership with the Women’s Resource Center’s Girls Talk.

Ongoing throughout the month is the Pride Month Virtual Open Mic Space, a virtual space for students, faculty and staff presented through BMCC Open Lab. Participants are invited to upload creative works, as well as share their responses to events in 2021 BMCC Pride Month calendar.

This event will be moderated by Ethnic and Race Studies Professor RaShelle Peck and Modern Language Professor Laurie Lomask.

Pride Month event invites participants in BMCC’s new Pride Mentoring Network

Other virtual Pride Month events include LGBTQ+ Students Coming Out and Connecting and BMCC Pride Mentoring Network on October 12.

The Pride Mentoring event will create a space in which students get to know faculty and staff members at BMCC who are interested in serving as mentors through BMCC’s Pride Mentoring network. Students who are not able to attend the event but who would like to have a Pride Mentor are welcome to contact Professor Brian Kelley at

Queer Representations in Popular Culture is slated for Thursday, October 14, and both a Safe Zone Training and BMCC Pride Mentoring Network take place Friday, October 15.

On Tuesday, October 19, the Zoom event If it’s Not Clear, Am I Queer? A Discussion about Labels will provide a safe space for exploring the positive, negative and neutral role that labels play in people’s lives.

Let’s Talk Pronouns and Artist Talk: Kendall Bessent are planned for Wednesday, October 20, and Gender and Queer Issues in the Workplace will take pace Thursday, October 21.

The month continues with Watch Party: Call Me By Your Name on Friday, October 22; LGBTQIA Entrepreneurs: Real Talk on Monday, October 25 and LGBTQ & Women’s Health Series: Lesbian and Bi-sexual Love in Movies on Wednesday, October 27.

Pride Ball and a Trans Day of Remembrance close out Pride Month

Pride Ball: End of Month Celebration takes place on Friday, October 29. Participants are invited to celebrate the end of LGBTQ Pride Month and Halloween as they show off costumes and dance the night away at this virtual dance party.

On Thursday, November 18, Pride Month: Trans Day of Remembrance Vigil will provide an opportunity for all communities at BMCC to come together and remember transgender people, gender-variant individuals, and those perceived to be transgender who have been murdered because of hate.

Click here for the full list of Pride Month activities. To learn more about LGBTQ+ services and programs at BMCC, click here.

Students who attend two or more Pride Month events are eligible for Co-Curricular Transcript verification.

For more information about Pride Month events, contact Dean Michael Hutmaker at

NOTE: The Pride Month activities in this BMCC News story relate to BMCC’s Strategic Goals, including Goal 5: Strengthen our Culture of Care for Students, Faculty and Staff.  Read the BMCC Strategic Plan 2020-2025 to learn about college-wide initiatives, priorities and goals.


  • BMCC celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month throughout October, and with one event in November; click here.
  • Kick-off event features André Thomas, first African-American male to serve as co-chair of NYC Pride
  • Whether you are a faculty or staff member interested in serving as a Pride Mentor, a student who wants to talk about identity and other topics, events create supportive forums

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