In a small cramped room in the Student Center is the Temple Lambda Alliance office.
Lambda is Temple’s gay student organization, which provides a safe space for people of all genders and sexual identities.
The room is tiny, and furnished with a small loveseat found at Goodwill and a bookshelf crammed with titles such as “Victims No longer” and “The Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Film and Videos.”
Walls are covered with photos taken of their events as well as flyers and pamphlets.
One particular flyer harps on a common pamphlet that questions sexuality with the phrase “I think I might be straight.”
But what really hits one as they walk in are the colors. The rainbow, a common symbol for the gay lifestyle, is everywhere.
Christina Molieri, a senior photojournalism major and president of the organization, sits in a chair in the corner of the office.
She speaks passionately about Lambda and its role in the Temple community.
“Our group’s purpose is to integrate [students] with the Philadelphia [gay] community,” she said while discussing the variety of events the group has sponsored during the past academic year.
Lambda also provides support and guidance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) students on campus.
They give information regarding mental and sexual health, as well as gay friendly places in Philadelphia.
Although more men attend the weekly meetings, which are often held in rooms scrounged up in a hurry, the events sponsored by Lambda usually have an equal showing of the sexes.
While she isn’t lonely at the top, Molieri is the only woman in an officer position at Lambda.
Co-Vice Chair Steven Eltz said that her job was demanding.
” When things go good, [Molieri] gets credited. When things go bad, her name gets dragged through the mud,” he said.
Among the many events that Lambda has sponsored this year was a celebration in the Student Center lobby in honor of National Coming Out day in October.
“We constructed a six and a half foot tall cardboard closet and painted it rainbow on the outside and on the inside it was Pepto Bismol pink with rainbow streamers.
The words ‘come out, come out, where- ever you are’ were written on it,” said Molieri.
The reaction from the student body was mostly positive.
“The only weird looks we got were when I realized if I tied a string around the waist of my blowup doll, she flew like a kite,” Molieri said.
Also in October, Lambda sponsored lesbian slam poetry icon Alix Olson to perform on campus.
“[Temple Student Government] is having budget problems,” said Molieri.
“We still haven’t been able to pay her.”
When asked what might be the source of the budget issues, Molieri replied “Poor organization. The fact that WHIP has a $5,000 operating budget might be a little bit of a problem.”
WHIP is Temple’s student run radio station and has their offices next door to Lambda’s.
“We’re on a budget of $1,500 a semester.
This is what funds us,” Molieri said as she held up a credit card.
“This is my personal check card. Thank God for refund checks.”
Molieri didn’t think that student groups got preferential treatment, but she believes that Lambda doesn’t get the same amount of respect as other student organizations.
“I don’t want to say that the Office of Student Activities isn’t open minded because we have a lot of allies in that space,” she said.
“But wherever there are allies, there is also extreme opposition [to our group] it seems.”
Molieri works part time at the Philadelphia Community Health Alternative (PCHA), which caters to the sexual health needs of the LGBT community of the city.
Most of Molieri’s time is spent either at work, school or working on personal photography projects.
She also spends a great deal of time working for Lambda and even held a party for the organization at her home at the beginning of the year.
“If you are ever going to have a party, do not post it on [an e-mail list] containing 220 people. Especially with a very small apartment.”
Sarah Watson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.