Decades-long fight yields results

LGBT students to finally get support

By Jared Amdahl, Opinion Editor

After more than two decades, a club representing for LGBT students is now close to being activated and ready for students to participate in, protecting students and educating the Contra Costa College community.

The soon-to-be formed Gay-Straight Alliance will provide students on campus with resources that help gay, straight, bisexual, transgender and queer students with problems they may be facing on or off campus.

“When I got here in 2013 I didn’t feel like there was any safe place for gay students. It was shocking. It puts gay students at a disadvantage,” Basil Thomsen, a GSA supporter, said. “I think it is important for students. You cannot change views if you keep everyone in silence, and not having one of these clubs is doing just that.”

Thomsen, an openly gay student, wants to provide a safe place that can not only advocate for and help protect LGBT students on campus, but could also help educate the surrounding CCC community on the difficulties many LGBT students may face during their time in college.

“I felt like there should be a place for these students to go,” he said.

Business major Mark David agrees.

“I think (a GSA) will be beneficial because identity is such a huge issue. You have kids struggling with identity problems and a lot of the time they have no one to turn to,” David said. “It would provide that aspect of people to confide in, and connections to resources such as health services and access to counseling.”

With 20 years separating the new GSA and the prior GSA, which was last active in 1994, CCC is the last campus in the district to have a campus group advocating for LGBT students.

Mathematics professor Susan Van Hattum will be the acting club adviser for the GSA, and wishes anyone interested in supporting the GSA to seek her out.

“I’ve never seen (a GSA) in my time here. It will definitely support students in need,” Van Hattum said. “We do not know the effects not having one of these clubs on campus has created, but I’m sure there have been students that were in need of such a club, but weren’t able to receive help.”

Ericka Greene, interim Associated Students Union adviser, had noticed the lack of such a club on campus and wanted to address the problems that such vacuity creates for LGBT students who may be experiencing difficulties.

“A club like this can do a lot of things in terms of personal safety,” Greene said. “Now that they’re almost active, I’m waiting to see what they do. I’m expecting great things.”

Diablo Valley College’s Queer Straight Alliance President Dillon McCormic said that not having a LGBT club on campus puts students at a disadvantage.

“We provide a safe area for our LBGT community. It’s the sort of place that lets 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,” McCormic said. “And as for a college without one, I would have to say it would add less diversity to the student body, and less feeling of the student body being able to connect as a whole.”

In order for a club to become registered as active, it must have at least five student members, one faculty adviser and the group must hold meetings and attend Inter-Club Council meetings.

The GSA will host meetings from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in LA-102 on Thursdays.