The New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) campus had a lively Pride Month with six opportunities for engagement, including two socials, a trivia night, a film screening, a workshop, and a raffle. Many of the events were hosted by the LGBTQI+ club as well as Student Life.
Pride Month kicked off with a lunchtime social with doughnuts, a photo booth, and a music playlist with all LGBTQI+ artists curated by the LGBTQI+ club. Students, faculty, and staff all came together to meet each other and show their pride with custom photo booth props designed by LGBTQI+ club.
LGBTQI+ Club president Hakam Kharraz shared, “Everyone was happy and proud. I wanted people to socialize with others that they don’t know, and for them to be able to celebrate themselves with others that don’t identify as LGBTQIA+, and I think that was successful. The event promoted acceptance and safety, and was networking for people which is good for this industry.” A closing social was also held so that community members in both buildings, Riverside and Barham, can participate in Pride Month.
LGBTQI+ club also hosted a trivia night, where students competed for prizes donated by Hamburger Mary’s. The trivia questions ranged from LGBTQI+ history, to films and pop culture. “It was educational in a fun way. Everyone said they learned a lot, whether about Queer history or Queer representation in media, said a student.
The learning continued at the Why It Matters: Gender & Sexuality workshop led by Director of Student Life Missy Dominguez and Chair of NYFA Photo Arts Conservatory Kean O’Brien. Students, staff, and faculty came together during lunch to learn about the difference between gender and sexuality, transgender and gender non-conforming inclusion, pronouns, and all-gender restrooms. “It was one of, if not the most, informative, insightful, and organized NYFA presentations I’ve been to,” expressed NYFA faculty Terah Jackson. Due to its success and popularity, another workshop will be held August 1st in Barham.
Pride Month ended with a screening of The Miseducation of Cameron Post, a film about a teen sent to gay conversion therapy. LGBTQI+ president Hakam Kharraz expressed, “It was very important to show a movie about such an important topic, because this topic is relevant all around the world.” After the film, students had a discussion both about the topic at hand, gay conversion therapy, and the technical filmmaking. “Cinematically it’s beautiful. The story is relevant,” expressed a student.
At the end of the screening, the Pride Raffle winners were announced. New York Film Academy held a Pride Raffle at all campuses where $1 raffle tickets could be purchased for a chance to win a special edition NYFA Pride shirt and bag. Each dollar is matched by New York Film Academy and all proceeds donated to GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network). As a result, the Los Angeles campus will be contributing a $254 donation to support LGBTQ youth and foster safe schools.
If you did not get to participate in Pride Month, Kharraz has a message: “If I could reach people who didn’t come, I’d say NYFA itself is a safe environment for everyone and our LGBTQI+ club is very inclusive of people both who identify as LGBT and who do not. We are all friends. We don’t judge. We’re our own community within a community.”
“If you are not out, you can always anonymously send a message to the club at firstname.lastname@example.org or request a meeting with the president. There is also Jackie (Jackie.Rabinowitz@nyfa.edu) and Kathia (Kathia.Rabelo@nyfa.edu), the therapists on campus, who have an LGBTQ support group every week to create a safe space for students to talk.”
LGBTQI+ Club can be reached at email@example.com. Staff and faculty interested in forming an LGBTQI+ faculty and staff affinity group can contact any member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programming committee, including Susan Ashe, Christine Daniels, Missy Dominguez, Art Helterbran Jr., Prarthana Mohan, Jenni Powell, and Barbara Weintraub.