Pride+ is the new LGBTQIA group on campus

The newly chartered club is excited to start planning student events and promoting inclusivity on campus.

By Asher Miles, Staff Writer

Natalie Guerrero, the new head of the Rainbow Pride Center at Valley College, ushered in the new Pride+ club, an on-campus organization dedicated to providing a safe environment and basic needs assistance for LGBTQIA students.

Re-establishing an inclusive queer space at Valley after the COVID-19 pandemic has been the coordinator-counselor’s chief prerogative since she was hired in June. Pride+ recently achieved the minimum requirements of six officers and four club members to become chartered and is continuing to invite students.

“I’m looking forward to the club being chartered to support students LGBTQIA students on campus, said Guerrero “I want them to know this is a safe space if they need anything from me and us as a community.”

The club is looking to collaborate with the Associated Student Union on events, such as an open mic session where members can share coming-out stories and poems. Guerrero also plans on moving the club’s office to the campus center soon.

By becoming chartered, the club will be able to request funding from the ASU for food, events, and trips. Pride+ and the Rainbow Pride-sponsored monthly events for this semester include a workshop that discussed sex and dating, a film screening of a queer documentary, and an LGBTQIA self-defense class.

A precursor of modern-day student-led LGBTQIA groups was first formed in the summer of 1984 under the name of Los Angeles Project 10. Project 10 was formed with mostly straight facilitators who wished to assist gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth

After Project 10, a student-led safe space for LGBTQIA students started with the first Gay-Straight Alliance in 1988 at Concord Academy in Massachusetts. The group was started by gay teacher Kevin Jennings and his heterosexual student Meredith Sterling after Sterling was distraught with the treatment of her fellow students who identified as LGBTQIA.

According to the National Library of Medicine, having a school-based club that aims to provide a safe environment for queer individuals promotes school safety, and helps to buffer the negative association between LGBTIA and the wider campus community.

However, a number of federal and state courts have had to uphold the student-led groups' right to form in schools for decades.

“Before Pride+ existed there was no way to connect with people on campus, '' said Pride+ President Jamie Roisman “There needs to be a space where everyone can come on their own terms and not put themselves at risk. It is dangerous to put yourself out and hope there will be a positive interaction - because sometimes there isn’t. That's why I’m so happy to help form Pride+ on campus.”