Workshops to focus on LGBTQ inclusivity

By DeJon Sylvain, Advocate Staff

Sometimes spaces that embrace tolerance and inclusivity don’t actually fund these ideas. However, an LGBTQ-focused program, Rainbow, is set to challenge heteronormativity with resources, courses and services that support queer students at Contra Costa College.

Rainbow is the brainchild of ASU Vice President Alfredo Angulo and first year student Aubrey Kelly.

The organization does not only bring issues to light about the troubles queer students face on and off campus, but also celebrates progress and promotes equality within the community.

As director of Rainbow, Angulo recommended that the Associated Student Union (ASU) work together with Rainbow on a portion of the programs, workshops and events planned for the upcoming spring semester.

Rainbow also intends to have a “Queer Prom” and an event covering the impact of language next semester.

The ASU Board felt it was necessary to ensure the LGBTQ students understand they are welcome and a significant piece of the Contra Costa College community.

“It is imperative for us to be able to express our opinions and thoughts without the worry that we’ll receive backlash,” Angulo said.

La Raza studies guides students to become more aware of social issues.

With the spark of the recent LGBTQ studies course, Dr. Agustín Palacios, Chicano/La Raza studies department chairperson, said it contributes to the rise of inclusiveness right here on campus.

It wasn’t until his second semester that Angulo started searching for approaches to get involved and push for representation on campus.

“Historically, queer people of color have been excluded from decision-making and that’s got to change,” Angulo said.

“This is a diverse nation and as the nation’s demographics shift even more, we have to make sure that those making decisions reflect those that will be affected by said decisions,” Angulo said.

Angulo said it is easy for LGBTQ youth to become mentally isolated when they don’t feel they can express themselves freely and don’t have a sense of security within their communities.

“As time passes and our efforts to foster inclusivity show fruit, I think queer folks and queer people of color will be encouraged to demand a part in the decision-making process,” Angulo said.

He also said CCC is steering in the correct direction with regards to LGBTQ inclusivity.

Drama department Chairperson Carlos-Manuel Chavarria has helped create a supportive environment for the LGBTQ+ community with SafeZone, a faculty program that trains staff to become more aware of the queer community.