Senior Associate, Office of Information Technology
Advisor, Ally LGBTQ Club
“I’ve been an activist most of my life,” said Larry, who is often seen on campus wearing his vest and baseball hat peppered with awareness ribbons and buttons. Some of the buttons have faded over the years but the messages are loud and clear: You Are Safe with Me, Say Gay, He, His, Him, Himself, NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom), #IllGoWithYou, NOH8 and Ally. “These buttons represent years of activism and represent me.”
Gisela Rivera, Director of Student Leadership & Development, Student Activities, who nominated Larry for the C.A.R.E.S. award, said, “I’ve enjoyed working with Larry for many years in different capacities and have known him to be a dedicated club advisor and mentor who celebrates all students and encourages them to participate and pursue roles in leadership.”
In 2016 Larry was approached by Dorith Brodbar, MS, LMHC in the Counseling Office who asked him if he would be advisor to the newly formed Ally LGBTQ Club. He agreed and the first meeting was held in the spring of 2017.
Larry said, “The LGBTQ Club was created to be inclusive and supportive of student sexual diversity and to promote awareness and respect for LGBTQ students— such an important part of the culture of care at Queensborough.”
He added, “Student mental health in general is a growing concern and I realize membership presents complicated issues. Some students may not have come out or are not sure of their sexuality and are afraid of not being accepted. I want people to know the club is for allies too.”
Events organized by the LGBTQ Club have included Paint and Sip (non-alcoholic beverages) Parties, and gatherings to remember LGBTQ people who died or were killed. A few years ago, the Club partnered with the English department to present a showing of the Academy Award winning film, Moonlight about a young Black man struggling with his identity and sexuality. The project featured a Q&A with the faculty and a written essay.
Larry discovered his inner activist at an early age when he was living with his family in Parkway Village, Queens, which at the time was an international neighborhood that housed employees of the United Nations including public figures such as Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary of the NAACP.
“Wilkins and his wife lived on the next block and were regular customers at the luncheonette my parents owned. I knew he was a leader in the civil rights movement and seeing him lifted my own self-confidence. He left a deep impression on me. I want all students at Queensborough to have similar experiences, to be inspired, to have self-confidence and feel safe.”
Larry's history at Queensborough goes back 47 years. He is a former student who graduated in 1981 with a certificate in data processing and in 82 with an associate in applied science in Data Processing and then attended York College where he received a Bachelor of Science in information systems management.
In 1984 Larry was appointed full-time permanent computer programmer/analyst in the IT department. He has also worked as a college lab technician.
“I enrolled at Queensborough as an Accounting major in the Fall of 1977 and never left!”
As computer programmer analyst, Larry generates reports, compiling and analyzing programming language to produce data and transactions for administrative and academic offices across campus. Larry’s office, located down a (very) long hall in IT, has a nice view of the QCC Art Gallery and has large purple bags packed to the brim with ribbons and buttons which he hands out to anyone who would like to wear them.
“They are a point of pride for me,” he said.
Larry — a board president of the Queens Chapter PFLAG, the organization for Parents, Families Allys, and LGBTQ people united for equality — has marched in Pride parades since 1993. The annual Queens Pride parades, held during Pride Month every June, reflect the borough’s ethnic and racial diversity.
The Mother of Pride was Bronx born Brenda Howard, a self-identified bisexual and Larry’s late partner of 8 years and passed away in 2005 from colon cancer. She is renowned for her activism for many causes, most notably for organizing the one-month protest march and rally to mark the Stonewall Riot. The rally turned into a one-year event, occurring every June. She originated the idea for a week-long series of events around Pride Day which became the genesis of the annual LGBT Pride celebrations now held worldwide. In 2005 the Brenda Howard Memorial Award was created to recognize the vision and principles that exemplify the bisexual community.
“She was my friend, my family, much the way Queensborough has been to me through the decades.”