Club remains inactive after two decades

LGBT community on campus lacking strong leadership, student interest

By Jared Amdahl, Staff Writer

A unified voice representing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has not existed on campus for the last 20 years.

The last time a club advocating for the representation of LGBT students was in 1994 when the then Gay Straight Alliance was deemed an inactive club.

“What it comes down to is if there is the student interest or not,” business major Mark David said in regards to why there is no club on campus for the LGBT community.

David is an openly gay student who has attended both Contra Costa College and Diablo Valley College and has participated in DVC’s Queer Straight Alliance (QSA), a club that reaches out to the LGBT community at DVC.

“I think (an LGBT club) would be beneficial because identity is such a huge issue,” he said. “You have kids struggling with identity problems and a lot of the time they have no one to turn to. It would provide people who have been in similar situations to confide in, resources such as health services and access to counseling.

“One thing that has to be understood, however, is that there needs to be a number of students that want to run the club,” he said, “I don’t know if there is that at CCC.”

Vice President of Clubs Safi Ward-Davis attributes the absence of an LGBT club to the possibility that there is not enough demand for one at CCC.

“Honestly, I don’t think anybody has thought about starting an LGBT club here on campus so far this semester, and if they have, nobody has approached us or mentioned it to anybody,” Ward-Davis said.

“I feel like it would be one of the more valuable clubs on campus. It would bring awareness to the student body and add diversity, and diversity is one thing CCC is huge on,” she said.

David attributes it to something a little different.

“I think a part of it, having grown up in Richmond, is that everyone is a lot ‘harder’ out here towards the LGBT community and their views. It is sort of less forgiving in a sense, if you really think about it,” David said.

While diversity is normally celebrated here on the campus located in both Richmond and San Pablo, Calif., history shows that the LGBT community has been underrepresented for some time.

Seven years ago in an article published in The Advocate, the conditions of the LGBT community at CCC and its surrounding community throughout the Bay Area and California were examined.

A total of 24 schools located all the way from Santa Rosa Junior College in the north to Mission College in the south were surveyed to see which had LGBT clubs on campus, and which did not.

The Advocate has re-examined the status of the LGBT community on campus and the lack of a voice for LGBT students here at CCC.

In 2007 throughout the 24 community colleges that were surveyed, 16 of these colleges had LGBT clubs on campus and 8 did not have them. Now, seven years later, out of the same 24 campuses surveyed, 17 of them have LGBT clubs on campus and just 7 do not, adding up to a one college difference over that length of time.

CCC is still the only college in the Contra Costa Community College District without an LGBT club or organization to represent students.

The president of the QSA at DVC, Dilon McCormick, said that these clubs offer LGBT students the opportunity to receive help, who would otherwise be left to fend for themselves.

“We provide a safe area for our LGBT community. Its the sort of place that lets LGBT students know that they’re not alone, and it gives the chance for any of these students to get help with any difficulties they may be having,” McCormick said.