City College honors LGBTQ+ graduates at second Lavender graduation

LGBTQ+ community members stand proud as they receive degrees, certificates at annual ceremony


Lucy Plascencia hosts the second annual Lavender Graduation at San Diego City College. Photo by Shamere Grimes/City Times Media

Shamere Grimes, Multimedia Reporter

Rainbow-colored balloons, lavender roses and a cloudy afternoon littered the scene at the second annual lavender graduation at San Diego City College on May 18.

The colors of pride, strength and resilience set the stage for the ceremony honoring the LGBTQ+ community at the City A building patio.

In keeping with the ideals of inclusion and belonging that City pushes forward and exemplifies, the Lavender Graduation ceremony gave space for the LGBTQ+ community to express themselves, their futures and their dreams.

Performances from drag queens Raquelita and Barbie Q centered around the themes of being yourself and being proud of that with a musical twist.

Though several of the graduates couldn’t attend the ceremony, the ones who did received their rainbow sashes and applause from the crowd as Lucy Plascencia read their names, their degrees and their plans to further their educations.

Plascencia, a counselor at the City Pride Hub, gave a brief history of the Lavender Graduation and how it came to be. 

The Lavender Graduation Ceremony was created by Dr. Ronni Sanlo, a Jewish lesbian, who was denied the opportunity to attend the graduations of her biological children because of her sexuality. Encouraged by the Dean of Students at the University of Michigan, Sanlo designed the first Lavender Graduation Ceremony in 1995, with just three graduates.

“The color lavender was chosen to highlight a difficult aspect of LGBTQ+ history,” Plascencia said.

 Lavender is a combination of the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wear in concentration camps and the black triangle designating lesbians as political prisoners in Nazi Germany. 

Student graduates gave brief speeches thanking City faculty and their community for providing opportunities and giving them a place where they felt like they belonged.

Sim Sanco, one of the graduates who will be pursuing a master’s degree in child development at San Diego State University, spoke of the gratitude he feels for City and his hopes for the future.

“Today as we embark on a new chapter in our lives, let us recognize our journey so far, let us be thankful to City College for creating a safe environment for our community,” Sanco said. “Every day we see how the LGBTQ+ community is used by those in power as scapegoats. To them we say ‘No more.’ Live in such a way that your biography would be banned in Florida.”