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We Solved The Mystery Behind This "Long Live The Lesbians" Brick That's All Over The Internet

"You never really know the impact that your life has on the world until you hear about things like this."

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At Russell Sage College, a women's college in Troy, New York, students often have the opportunity to purchase and engrave a brick which will become a physical part of the campus for years to come.

According to the school's website, bricks can showcase "names, memorable dates, class years, small graphics and more."

Thanks to the internet, one brick in particular has taken on a life of its own. Its message is simple and direct: "Long live the lesbians!"

Provided to BuzzFeed / Tumblr

"I go to a women’s college," the caption of the photo reads. The image was taken and posted to Tumblr by a former student.

"We have a walkway where bricks can be purchased by alumnae. Most just say names or class years/mascots. But this one. This one is special. It speaks to me."

Clearly, the brick spoke to a lot of people. The original photo has now been shared over 300,000 times and has been re-shared in various forms since the first photo of it was posted three years ago.

"My friends and I loved that brick during our days at Sage," Lisa Eytel, the Russel Sage alum who first posted the photo online, told BuzzFeed News. "So much, in fact, many of us had used it as our background on Facebook or our phones for a while and it created a running joke in our friend group."

A photo of the brick, which was located in a courtyard outside the dining hall and the student center, was first texted to Eytel from a friend who thought that she might get a kick out of it — especially because she had recently come out herself.


Eytel, who graduated from the school in 2014, posted the photo to her personal and anonymous Tumblr account a few months later, not thinking at the time it would be shared so widely. "For the past few years, the post would get regular likes or reblogs, but all of a sudden a few months ago it blew up," she said.

"Our friend group used to joke about making a post that became tumblr famous but I never thought it would happen to me," she explained. 'It's been equally entertaining watching people try to guess where the post came from."

"I'm glad people enjoy the brick as much as my friends and I do," she added.

Thanks to the internet (and alumni Facebook pages) the original bricklayer herself, a Russell Sage '00 alum named Rebecca Borello, came forward.

Borello during her college years, photo provided to BuzzFeed

Borello told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview that she purchased the brick for a few hundred dollars with some help from a recent tax return. The engraved phrase, "long live the lesbians," had become an inside joke between friends spurred on by some campus vandalism during her freshman year.

"That year there was a slew of things that were written on people's whiteboards outside their dorm rooms," Borello explained. According to Borello, some students had found vulgar comments like "muff-diver" or "dyke" on their dorm whiteboards. "They had gone around and written a lot of derogatory, really immature stuff," Borello, who identifies a lesbian herself, recalled.

She was in the cafeteria the following Monday morning discussing the incident with her friends when the conversation began to get heated.

"At one point I kind of screamed out, 'Long live the lesbians!' and everything went silent as I was raising my voice," she said. "Everyone cracked up laughing."

The line became an instant motto of sorts inside Borello's friend group. "It became this way for my friends to laugh," she explained.

Borello admitted she hasn't actually ever seen the brick herself — she believed the school would never actually make it.

Borello during her college years, photo provided to BuzzFeed

"It's always been something that made us laugh, one of my fonder memories. I had been a couple times back to campus and never was able to find it."

According to an email from the school's Office of Communications and Marketing, "All bricks are installed, as long as the comments are not offensive or defamatory in any way." The email also noted that school officials are not aware of any other bricks that have 'gone viral' as the one in question has.

Borello was shocked to learn that not only did her brick actually get made, but that it had become something special to another group of young women on campus — and also, to a whole bunch of people on the internet.

"It was really kind of awesome," Borello said after learning about the brick's viral fame. "You never really know the impact that your life has on the world until you hear about things like this. It wasn't anything I thought about, future generations coming through and seeing it. I'm glad it was meaningful for them."