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Valley supports LGBTQ+ students

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Unity Center will not wave the white flag, have four pride flags at the ready.

By Asher Miles, Opinions Editor


A Pride flag was torn by vandals from the front of the Unity Center in August. (Astrid Cortez |Valley Star)

The recent vandalism of the LGBTQ+ Pride flag at Valley College is not merely the result of the recent stagnation in acceptance of the community, but a symptom of a national growing repudiation of the rainbow coalition.


National proliferation of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment coupled with an increase of hate crimes towards individuals questioning their gender identity has found its way to Valley College. What else can Valley expect after the national rise of misinformation on what it means to be trans, coupled with hysterics of the community grooming children?


“I was honestly shocked and it scared me,” said registration worker Alej Contreras. “We know how society is and even though we are in 2023, it reminds me that I need to be careful about my surroundings. I don’t feel as comfortable as before.”


The truth is that the fight for LGBTQ+ and acceptance is not over and the tearing down of the Pride flag over the summer is symbolic of that.

The epitome of shallow logic is assuming that the mere presence of LGBTQ+ characters on television and the extension of marriage rights implies that all is well with how the community is treated. There is more to acceptance than what meets the eye.


During the 2020-21 school year, 68 percent of LGBTQ+ students reported facing a hostile school environment, as reported by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). This was exacerbated by reduced social and instructional support due to the hybrid nature of online and in-person instruction.


“This is an important symbol of the campus in general, and the Unity Center in particular, being a safe space for members of our community that sometimes are our most vulnerable,” stated President Gribbons in an email.


In confronting the challenges of a hostile school environment, the proliferation of grooming claims, and constant misinformation targeting the trans community, the LGBTQ+ community has now found itself engaged in a new battle. The desecration of Valley’s Pride flag is symbolic of the new fight in a post Marriage Equality USA.


Let’s be clear: incremental progress forward does not equate to full-blown liberation. This is akin to the misguided belief that racism ended in 1968 or that anti-Semitism vanished because the Holocaust is not recurring. The discourse must be elevated.


However, Valley’s LGBTQ+ community refuses to back down without a fight.


“If someone pulls your flag down, you put one right back up,” said coordinator/counselor of the Rainbow Pride Center Natalie Guerrero. “We have four more flags. We are here to stay.”

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