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New film series enhances visibility of gay students of color

This semester students are addressing the visibility of gay students of color on campus by organizing a yearlong film series.

Spearheaded by Nia King, a Mills College sophomore and manager of the Solidarity Lounge, the series showcases films by queer and transgender people of color, a group often referred to by the acronym QTPOC.

“There are lots of LGBT students of color on Mills campus, but the community has not been visible,” explained King. “The intent of this film series is to bring students and organizations together in order to become more visible.”

King is also involved with Student Diversity Programs and says she has used her extra-curricular activities as a way of finding her place at Mills.

“When I first came to Mills last year, I didn’t know anyone,” she said.

Through King’s efforts to unite and build coalitions among the diverse communities at Mills, several on-campus organizations have come together to co-sponsor the film series, including the Queer Melanin club, the Ethnic Studies department and Mujeres Unidas.

The first film, shown as a part of Latina Heritage Month in September, was “Krudas,” which drew an audience of more than 50 students.

The film details the life of a Cuban lesbian couple in a hip hop group, whose music explores their national, ethnic and political identities.

Many students said “Krudas” resonated with them because it touched upon the diverse identities present at Mills. At a running time of 30 minutes, it served as an appetizer for the film series because of its brevity and its raw quality – the Spanish translation for “cruda” is “raw.”

“This is the type of film that every person on Mills’ campus can learn from and appreciate,” said student Lee Arrambide.

“By the film putting together so many different identities, it opened the door to the idea that everyone was welcome – all identities were honored,” said sophomore Lina Blanco.

First-year Myles Luber agreed. “There are not many films addressing this issue, so a lot of people came out that night and felt represented,” said Luber.

“There was a feeling of safe space for both members of the QTPOC community and aspiring allies.”

The next film in the series is The Agressives, a documentary about African American lesbian drag dances in New York City. It will be screened Friday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Faculty/Staff Lounge.