Morgan Harris | Staff Writer
The Mosaic Club is an LGBTQ+ and ally student organization at Hampton University. Club members pride themselves on dedicating their efforts to giving a voice to the voiceless within the LGBTQ+ community, bettering their education, and serving their campus community and the community outside of the campus.
“Spreading awareness and love” is the motto on the club’s Instagram bio. Throughout the page, visitors can find how the organization uses its platform to spread awareness about various topics, including Asexual Awareness Week and ways to educate others about the LGBTQ+ community.
“The club was started because Hampton University lacks representation of LGBTQ+ students as it is, and there are a lot of us that want to feel safe and have our community within being in school,” said senior Indy Grande-Deveraux, a pre-med psychology student. She represents the club as Miss Mosaic.
Through hosting social events, Mosaic creates an opportunity for members of the LGBTQ+ community and heterosexual individuals to bridge the gap between many of the misunderstandings that arise and offers allies on both sides.
“The club was created to serve as a safe space for students of the LGBTQIA+ community [on] Hampton University’s campus,” said Mosaic Vice President Cianni Bonhomme, a graduating senior psychology major. “In addition to this, the club was also created as a way to create change and advocate for people in our community on this university’s campus.”
This organization provides a haven for students who identify as LGBTQ+. Still, some LGBTQ+ students face discrimination, including Grande-Deveraux.
During Grande-Deveraux’s freshman year, a group of boys at a party made derogatory comments about her sexuality, not only making her uncomfortable but making comments that she should not have been attending the party.
“Besides that, discrimination within living in my dorm, people recording my friends, and sometimes feeling ostracized on a[n] all-girls dance team are all reasons that I wanted to join a safe space at Hampton University where I can feel included,” Grande-Deveraux said. “I hope to pass on a message on behalf of Black LGBTQ+ students that we deserve to be treated fairly at all times, respected, and to show our pride! Also to break those homophobic/transphobic standpoints within our Black community.”
To develop a more inclusive space for cis-gendered individuals and the LGBTQ+ community, many individuals have made it their duty to serve as allies to LGBTQ+ individuals, as they see the issues that many of them endure, especially on HBCU campuses.
“As a cis-gendered feminine presenting woman, I have not experienced anything that made me want to join,” Bonhomme said. “I did witness my friend, who is a masculine-presenting woman, get sent out of class for wearing a pantsuit instead of a skirt.”
While HBCUs were founded upon the principles of promoting inclusivity, some LGBTQ+ students express that the diversity does not include them.
“Through Mosaic, I hope to create a space on Hampton University’s campus where people can be 100 percent authentic without shame, fear or judgment,” Bonhomme said. “I also hope to create these spaces outside of Mosaic.”
Organizations such as Mosaic provide an outlet for individuals to voice their concerns about proper LGBTQ+ representation and the need for protective policies.
“My long-term goals for the club would be to have those that are in it [be] able to speak up and advocate for the Hampton Roads area and continue to advocate for Hampton students,” Bonhomme said. “Short term, I want everyone to feel comfortable being themselves and start to network with like-minded people on and off-campus.”
Grande-Deveraux mentioned two more goals.
“A short-term goal would be to get our name out here on campus even more,” Grande-Deveraux said. “A long-term goal would be the bills that we’re fighting for,” including a dorm floor for LGBTQ+ students.