Community College of Philadelphia is seeking to improve student engagement, retention and graduation rates with its newest initiative: an LGBT center — and the first of its kind to be established at a two-year academic institution in the region.
CCP will officially unveil the MarcDavid LGBT Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony 1 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Winnet Student Life Building, 502 N. 17th St. It was funded by, and named after, the Marc David Foundation, an independent organization that recognizes academic success and advocacy in the LGBT community.
Vincent Scarfo, coordinator of the college’s newest center, said CCP is providing necessary resources such as academic support, education on sexual and mental health and an affirming space for marginalized students.
As its first official order of business, the center will host an interactive drag show 7-9 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Great Hall on CCP’s main campus in celebration of National Coming Out Day. The “coming-out night” will feature local drag performers, a drag king and queen contest and a lip-synching battle.
In addition to providing entertainment, the event is intended to dispel misconceptions about drag culture, Scarfo said.
“Some people feel like drag is misogynistic and transphobic and many don’t like that it’s a part of the community. Drag is an art form that explores and expresses gender and it creates commentary on the fluidity of gender.”
Even before it officially opened, the center was already working to support LGBTQ students. Scarfo assisted with recruiting students to the executive board of the LGBTQ+ club — one that was inactive in the 2017-18 school year due to low student attendance. The club held its first meeting of the academic year last month, with more than 25 students in attendance.