Today we continue our newest series: Knights Sound Off, and we do so in hopes of lifting the voices of our brothers, the Honorable Knights of Omega Delta Phi in regards to current events, fraternal news, as well as other on-goings. In commemoration of the gay liberation movement that was set off in June 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, the LGBTQI community celebrates Pride Month during this month. A police raid of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village ignited a demonstration by the LGBTQI community that would cement the legacy of PRIDE and make Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera ,transgender activists, pioneers for LGBTQ rights.

Omega Delta Phi recognizes the contributions of the LGBTQI community and through this series, highlights the brothers who identify as such as well as their journeys and successes, and the challenges they faced and continue to face.

The following Honorable Knights shared their thoughts on Pride and what it means to be LGBTQI in Omega Delta Phi.

Full Name: Irwin Bryan Barcenes

Chapter/Colony: Alpha Phi, University of Nevada Las Vegas

Profession/Field of Study: Hospitality

Semester Activated: Fall 16

Identify as: Gay

What does Pride Month mean to you?

Pride to me is to be seen and heard. Our community has been around for ages and was always in the dark. Pride is us stepping up and being seen finally.

Do you feel seen/loved in ODPHI being a member of the LGBTQ community? How so?

For the most part yes! For the brothers that are supporters I have felt nothing but love. Unfortunately there are some that believe this is a choice or are blinded with extreme religious beliefs. Majority of the brothers respect me as the person I am, which is all I ask for, and to see me not by my label but for who I am.

How would you like to see ODPHI make improvements to fully embracing and supporting its LGBTQ members?

Doing things like this, participating in LGBTQ events and sharing it on social media and being proud about being diverse, not only in race but in sexual orientation.

What has your experience been as an LGBTQ Knight?

Positive! No limitations on being able to be a leader within the organization and being able to influence others to being their true self is rewarding, and being able to teach others about my culture as a gay man.