LGBTQ+ Community Protests Anti-Gay Group

If you didn’t notice the rainbow- decked hallways of building B, you may have missed the biggest LGBTQ+ pride celebration of the semester, which is all thanks to the anti-gay group Heterosexuals Organized for a Moral Environment or H.O.M.E.

On Monday morning, Feb. 27, two representatives from  H.O.M.E set up their info table, full of pamphlets regarding conversion therapy, and were quickly counteracted by several ECC clubs, all showing support for the LGBTQ+ community.

“We are here to combat a hate group,” said Avery Johanson, secretary chair of S.W.A.N.S, or Students Who Are Not Silent. 

The protest/party was lively but also peaceful. Free pizza, cake and pride buttons were distributed and upbeat music bumped through speakers, which seemed to disturb the representatives from H.O.M.E.

“They literally picked up their table and moved,” Johanson laughed.

Plenty of clubs showed up to support the event, including the Anime club, Gamers United, and the Organization of Latin American Students, as well as ECC’s Wellness Services’ faculty.

“We’re here, we have support, we’re people, we’re normal.  We’re trying to prevent suicides too. We also that they have support,” said Olivia Adams, secretary of S.W.A.N.S.

Many of the clubs were also supporting and advertising The Trevor Project, a 24/7 suicide hotline dedicated to the  LGBTQ+ community.

“We’ve had a really positive turn out, and lots of people have come out to support and donate to the Trevor Support Project, which is a hot line for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s just really wonderful to see the community at work and interconnected to help everybody, “ said ECC alumni Lillian Casey Bermas.

Even with a small party happening, the two representatives from H.O.M.E weren’t exactly ignored.  Some students debated with them, some held up signs and some just looked shocked at what they were hearing.  Many had mixed feelings about why H.O.M.E was allowed on campus, considering their controversial and hurtful message.

“Legally, they are here because it’s free speech, so we cannot force them out,” Johanson said.

“But we can annoy the s— out of them,” Adams said.

ECC alumni Lillian Casey Bermas had a different view regarding the issue of the anti-gay organization being allowed on campus.

“I think it’s really unfortunate that our institution is allowing a hate group on campus in the name of free speech. Hate speech is not free speech as far as I’m concerned,” Bermas said. 

Overall, it was a vibrant, uplifting event, despite the negativity that students felt from H.O.M.E’s presence.

“We are celebrating ourselves and our allies in the face of the hate group H.O.M.E coming to campus. We’ve gotten so much support from the campus, faculty, and other clubs which made today happen,” said Vice president of S.W.A.N.S Avery Harmon.

If interested in joining or supporting S.W.A.N.S, meetings are every Thursday at 3 p.m. in room B181.