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CNM Shows Pride in Diversity

Students, faculty, and staff took part in the college’s first-ever Pride Parade float
CNM Shows Pride in Diversity
Rolling down Central during the 42nd annual Albuquerque Pride Parade.

Jun 13, 2018

Even though the sun beat down with extra intensity and temperatures titled toward 100 degrees last Saturday, thousands of people came out to sing, dance, and march as part of Albuquerque’s 42nd annual Pride Parade. And right in the middle was CNM with our first-ever float; a decked-out Toyota Prius covered in balloons and surrounded by CNM employees and students who marched alongside with custom umbrellas and custom-made shirts that read “Lifting Up Diversity.”

The float was organized by QCNM, a working group that aims to increase visibility of and support for LGBTQ+ folks on campus. The organization—which is open to anyone— has already put on several events like the parade, as well as a weekly Q-Study Hall, where LGBTQ+ students and allies can study and socialize. They’ve also worked on gender-neutral bathrooms, helped transgender and gender non-binary students let instructors know of their gender pronouns and preferred names to be used in the classroom, and coming up they’ll be sponsoring an event for National Coming Out Day.

Founded by Brian Rassmusen, a sign language interpreter with the CNM Disability Resource Center, Liz Bennett, a CNM Sociology instructor, and Jaime Denison, a TRIO Student Support Services tutor, QCNM is just about a year old.

“Growing up as a queer kid and going through college, I remember thinking how amazing it was meeting another out person,” Brian says. “Those experiences start to normalize it.”

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The 42nd Albuquerque Pride Parade was hot, loud, and fun.

QCNM’s goals also align perfectly with the larger CNM mission of “Changing Lives, Building Community.”

“It’s important for CNM to send that message that all students are welcome here and that no one should have to hide who they are,” Liz says. 

And the message is resonating. Brian Smith, a CNM student who identifies as pansexual, says he’s shown up to QCNM both for himself and others. He likes that it’s a welcoming space, but also wants to help spread the word so that CNM students who might never have been part of an organization like QCNM know they have a home here at the college.

“For someone who’s young or just coming out, there always needs to be a space like QCNM where they can grow, network, and be comfortable,” he says.

Want to march with CNM next year? Contact Liz Bennett at ebennett18@cnm.edu
Want to march with CNM next year? Contact Liz Bennett at ebennett18@cnm.edu.