Bellevue College’s LGBTQ Resource Center Coordinator, Marisol Lopez, said that if a student is searching for “a friendly LGBTQ counselor, doctor, renting facility, friends, job or simply something to do,” the Resource Center should be able to provide.
Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and located in room C255 at the back of the Student Programs office, the Resource Center provides supplies like free condoms, tampons and bandages to any students that might be in need of them. The Center also hosts events for students, such as the annual Pink Prom.
One BC student, MJ, was “dragged by friends” to check out the LGBTQ Resource Center when she first started attending the college three years ago. MJ said that the center is a comfortable place with laid-back people. It is a judgement-free zone, inside which students can be themselves.
Events are open to anyone who would like to attend. MJ described the center as a safe space where people are understanding, and said that they are always looking for new ways to make students more comfortable. Straight people are welcome to visit and hang out as well; the main rule for anyone visiting is to be respectful of others’ identity.
The LGBTQ Resource Center has had several different faculty leaders since it first opened, as well as a location change from room C225 to C212. The running of the Resource Center changes as the faculty leader does, but the idea of it being a safe place has not changed.
Awareness of the Center spreads mainly through word of mouth. Max, a Running Start student from Mount Si high school was also told about the LGBTQ Resource Center by a friend who brought him to check it out last year. He says that the Resource Center is better than the “sub-par” GSA’s available at high schools.
Max visits the Resource Center a couple of times a day when he is on campus and said he sees at least 15 or 20 people coming and going over the course of the day.
When comparing the Resource Center last spring to now, “not a lot has changed,” said Max. Marisol Lopez is new to the coordinator position, and in Max’s opinion she is doing a good job.
“I wanted to help. I want to be that resource for our students; that friend, that leader, that supporter or whatever it may be that they need. That’s what made me want to be the coordinator,” said Lopez.
Max said that people often give feedback and communicate with Marisol by leaving handwritten notes on her desk. Lopez said that communication is important and wants the members of the Center to know that if at any time they feel unsafe there they can speak up. “When people come in here they know this is a safe space, the regulars here do a fantastic job of respecting each other and setting that respect level for new members,” she said.
Following National Coming Out day on Oct. 11, upcoming events organized by the Resource Center include the Entre Hermanos HIV testing and discussion panel on Oct. 15 and 16, a screening of the documentary ‘Drag Becomes Him’ plus a Q-and-A with its director Alex Berry on Oct. 21, and a Queer Muslim Panel on Oct. 26.
Lopez also mentioned an LGBTQ support group organized by the Counseling Center that has meetings on Thursday afternoons from 1:00 to 2:30. For more information, students can go to the front desk in B234 or visit Marisol in the Resource Center in C212.