The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning/Queer (LGBTQ) community has been a prominent aspect of Bellevue College for some time, but until now, they haven’t had an appropriate space to operate.
Instead of occupying a desk in student resources, the LGBTQ community will soon have its own resource center located in C225, (entrance located in the student services center). This marks the fruition of a carefully planned goal.
Andres Munt, ASG Clubs and Programs Representative, spoke of the benefit of having an LGBTQ-oriented center.
“Having the center instead of the desk makes life easier for the LGBTQ Community as a whole,” said Munt. Given the significant increase in space in the new resource center, this is easily understandable.
He continued, “With the center we will provide a secure environment and safe environment that also provides anonymity for the people who come seeking help or emotional support or referrals to resources that they don’t feel safe looking for.”
Andres also addressed the difficulties in actually obtaining a full resource center.
“The difficulties with obtaining the center weren’t really anything that came about because of anyone’s resistance to the idea. The two major problems we encountered were having to justify the need to the [Bellevue] College while also showing them that this center wouldn’t become a financial responsibility.”
This wasn’t the only issue.
“After that was trying to find a space that could be given that would balance the need situation between the amount of students that would make use of the center and the scarcity of space on campus.”
Munt clarified that the new center isn’t exclusive to the LGBTQ/GSA community.
“I think the LGBTQ Center will contribute an educational resource to the campus not just for students but also for staff and faculty who want to know how educational resource to the campus not just for students but also for staff and faculty who want to know how how to deal with LGBTQ issues. It will provide a safe haven for students and show that our school doesn’t just use the word pluralism to be PC [politically correct], but that we actually strive to educate and enact the values behind the college’s mission, vision and goals.”
Efforts to have larger LGBTQ center have been in the works for over a year. The center will be open September 21, ready for both new and returning students, staff members and anyone who has an interest. Munt expressed his gratitude for the culmination of these efforts, “We’re lucky to be at a college that gives students a chance to learn through experience and believes in the students and their dreams as much as the students do.”
When the LGBTQ center has its grand opening, famous drag queen Coco Peru will be on hand to help celebrate its opening. Peru, most famous for her role in the 1999 independent film “Trick”, and hosting the GLAAD Media Awards earlier this year, will bring meaning to the opening.
“Having Coco on campus is a big deal. Not only is she someone who is a celebrity, but she is a champion for equality that uses personal and autobiographical stories to inspire and educate,” said Munt.