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Club Spotlight: Pride Network in full force

By Sara Kay, Features Editor

For senior Anthony Crisci, and sophomore Christian Fuscarino, The University is the perfect place to have The Pride Network in full force. The club that was founded just two years ago is a club that is growing in popularity, as they act as advocates for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community (GLBT), as well as educators to anyone and everyone willing to learn more.

"Our mission is to speak out, connect, support and educate," said Crisci, Chair of the Hofstra chapter of the Pride Network. "We have support groups every week that are vital to this mission. We have workshops every semester where we educate people on GLBT issues."

The fourth branch of the mission, to educate, is a large part of the Pride Network's involvement on the University campus. These events cover a large range of issues that affect the GLBT community, and that can sometimes be considered foreign to those outside of that community. "We have safe sex workshops, workshops on transgender issues, workshops that deal with marriage equality," said Fuscarino, the Operations Director.

"The Pride Network is not a GLBT organization; it is an organization that works to educate people on GLBT issues, so part of our mission is to educate people who don't identify as GLBT." The marriage debate, which took place last year, was a large part of the education effort put forward by the Pride Network. "We had a speaker from the National Organization for Marriage, which is anti-same sex marriage, and the President of Marriage Equality of New York, which is pro same-sex marriage."

According to Fuscarino, the Pride Network likes to act as a "one-stop shop" for GLBT information. "We work closely with the GLBT studies program, the Saltzman Center, the Office of Multicultural International Students, Admissions, etc," said Fuscarino. "When anyone is thinking about doing anything GLBT they come to us."

The Pride Network is also credited with establishing the Hofstra Aids Awareness Coalition (HAAC), to educate people on an issue that has always been viewed as a "gay issue."

With only two years as an active club, The Pride Network has already established annual events that will continue to happen as long as the club is at the University, which from the large amount of interest, will probably be for a long time. The Gaydar event, which acted as a way to breakdown stereotypes in the GLBT community, served as a fun and educational way to show that just because a man is masculine or feminine, doesn't mean he can't be gay or straight. The most recent event called "Beyond the Binary," talked about gender identity, expression and different sexual orientations.

"A lot of people don't understand that gender and sexual orientation are completely independent of each other," said Crisci. "We try to educate gay people about the transgender community."

Upcoming events on the Pride Network calendar include the annual Gaydar event on March 18, the Hofstra University Women's Rugby Football Club Tournament in memory of Jessica Gohring on March 20, and a film series showing "But I'm a Cheerleader" on March 23.

The Pride Network, an important and educational group on campus, is only growing in support. "We want to create an environment where people feel comfortable and welcome," said Crisci. "People at our support groups have been able to come out for the first time. It's a place you can go. That's the most important part of what we do."

More information about the Pride Network and their upcoming events can be found at www.ThePrideNetwork.org or at www.facebook.com/ThePrideNetwork.

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