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Pride flag raised at Valley this Coming Out Day

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

Speakers were invited to share their experiences and celebrate Coming Out Day

By Jasmine Alejandre, Valley Life Editor

(Center, L-R) Pride+ Club President Siobhan Quille, Pride+ Club Vice President Alexander Esparza, California state Senator Caroline Menjivar and Vice President of Academic Affairs Matthew Jordan raise the US flag along with the pride flag during Coming Out Day on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (Astrid Cortez | Valley Star)

Valley College raised the Pride Flag for the second time ever in its 74 year history. The Unity Center along with the ASU hosted Coming Out Day where Valley alumni and California State Senator Caroline Menjivar gave a speech on her queer journey and the importance of having safe spaces for the LGBTQ community.

The Pride Center commenced the ceremony by passing around mini Pride flags, stickers and pins. Then once everyone settled keynote speaker Caroline Menjivar spoke about her own experience as an out and proud lesbian.

“It's a constant story of having to come out. Each and every single time it was difficult because I was not received with love,” said Menjivar, “These were the spaces I needed and wanted when I was a young girl. I’m thankful that the youth coming up and young adults have these spaces to turn to. Because my coming out story is still unfolding as we continue.”

Menjivar presented Natalie Guerrero, the Counselor Coordinator of the Rainbow Pride Center, with a certificate of recognition for the hard work she has done for the students on campus.

“The flag had never been raised since the college was founded in 1949,” said Guerrero. “It was something bold that I did but I also thought of our students and our LGBTQ+ community. I wanted it to be a symbol of solidarity and a safe space.”

Guerrero began her position last year and says that a lot of the inspiration for these events comes from what she wanted to see as a college student and is especially important to the Rainbow Pride Center after the flag was torn down from the Unity Center..

Vice President of Academic Affairs Matt Jordan spoke after Menjivar about his own experience coming out. Jordan talked about how his mom was devastated when she first found out he was part of the queer community, but have since then developed an accepting supportive relationship.

The President and Vice President of the Pride Plub Club also talked about their experiences as queer students at Valley College.

After all the speakers were done, everyone gathered around the flag as it was raised while the choir sang the Beatles’ “All You Need is Love.” Following the flag raising, attendees were able to speak with Senator Menjivar and a resource fair was set up in front of the Unity Center.

“For some of our students, Valley College may be one of the only places that they can be themselves and that they can be out.” said Jordan. “I'd like to express our commitment to not only creating a safe and welcoming environment but also to creating an environment that celebrates, cherishes and loves our queer community.”


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