“Gay”, “straight”, “bisexual”, and “cross-gender” are all words that were once created as a way to categorize individuals. These terms are a way to separate those who are seen to be different, but the truth is that they are simply human beings.
At Estrella Community College (EMCC), fellow Lions enforce common courtesy by following the old saying “treat people the way you want to be treated” and respecting the individuality among students and staff.
One club among others on campus that displays such character is the P.R.I.D.E. Club. P.R.I.D.E. is a club where people who care about the LBGTQ (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, and Questioning) community can gather, celebrate, and promote diversity.
First-year EMCC student and 18-year-old Javier “Alex” Uribe, describes this club as, “ […] being with people who completely understand you more than others, being part of something that connects the LBGTQ as a whole.”
Although Uribe is still new to the club, he says, “I feel like this club is different from others because of the support that we not only give to ourselves but to others all around us. We want everybody to get involved. We want to see people smile and to know that we did something that made a difference or could make one later in life.”
Along with Uribe, club sponsor Dr. Sandy Zetlan is excited to get the word out about P.R.I.D.E. and describes it as a place, “[…] where members can enjoy each other's company while learning about LGBTQ issues, and have fun.” She adds that the club was “created to fill the need of its members, who were looking for a way to meet others with similar interests. [And] also provides a safe space to explore those interests.”
On July 4, 1969, activist Craig Rodwell, along with others, created the Mattachine Society, the oldest gay rights organization in the United States, when they protested in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. This protest was later called The Annual Reminder. Rodwell soon after returned to New York City and organized the Christopher Street Liberation Day march. It was held on June 28, 1970 and was the first United States gay march, covering 51 blocks.
As a way to carry on the tradition, the P.R.I.D.E. club holds and attends events like the Christopher Street Liberation Day. By volunteering its time, the club has gone to the AIDS walk, PRIDE, Rainbow Festival, and even other events put on across the Maricopa County Community College District, such as Homoween and the Desperado Film Festival at Paradise Valley Community College. When the club isn’t out celebrating the cause of P.R.I.D.E. awareness, raising money, or just having fun on field trips at places like The Renaissance Faire, its members are also participating in activities around campus like Student Government or the EMCC Olympics where they took first place in 2012.
For students who would like to join in on a club that spreads the awareness of the LGBTQ community, students can meet with the P.R.I.D.E. Club on Fridays at 12 p.m. in Montezuma Hall in the Conference Room.