There are many clubs at community colleges across the U.S. who are exclusive to certain cultures, races, and genders. However, exclusion has no place with the Pierce College Gay/Straight Alliance [GSA] Club.
Discussions for the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning) community can sometimes be a controversial subject, but for Pierce there are two well-informed leaders President, Jose Moran and Vice President, Cameron Brenner.
“I wish they [America] had more education, more about what it’s like to be in the transgender community, the gay community, the bisexual community or the pansexual community,” Moran said. “They think we’re all the same and it’s not true.”
Brenner, a theater costuming major, said he wants to enlighten and inform others on the topics in the LGBT community.
“To inform and enlighten others upon topics in the LGBTQ community and acknowledge our existence and others existence and the fair equal rights that we deserve,” Brenner said.
With leaders like Brenner and Moran, the club not only serves as a forum for the LGBTQ community, but an inviting place where everyone is welcome and treated the same.
“I’m very passionate about this because it means a lot to me,” Brenner said. “It offends me that people really think we need to divide ourselves, we should be more of an inclusive society.”
Moran, a sociology major, was elected as the GSA president in Spring of 2014, but his official duties as president only started this semester. One thing about the club that brings a smile to Moran’s face is the interaction with new people and relationships the club has built with other clubs and organizations on campus.
“I enjoy meeting new people and networking with outside organizations like Francisco [Rivas],” Moran said. “As well as finding resources for the LGBTQ community outside of school.”
Moran offered more of his insight on what the GSA club represents.
“[To] have a space for the LGBTQ community, or any community,” Moran said. “Just to bring education [about the LGBTQ community] to our school and to show them that we have a place for anyone who wants to join, and that they’re free to be who they are.”
Rivas, a soft-spoken political science major, has sat in on some of the club meetings and is one of those people that Moran was talking about.
“Well, it’s a space where we discuss topics about our gender identities,” Rivas said. “This is a great space where we [LGBTQ and straight communities] come into solidarity and clear our biases.”
As for making his own mark, Moran is passionate about guiding the club in a much different direction unlike presidents in the past, including making the club more visible to the Pierce College campus.
“Bringing more events, and bringing more political events,” Moran said. “We have our Transgender 101 panel coming Nov. 13 and just bringing more education to our campus and just to let everyone know that we do have a GSA.”
In regards to club membership, Moran counts just over a half-dozen members, but that number could swell as this current semester moves along.
Events produced by the GSA club and off-campus events like the 1st Annual Latin@ Pride Conference and March, which takes place on Sunday Oct. 12 in Panorama City, are important. More events mean more awareness and more potential members for the GSA club.
The march and conference, originally suggested for attendance by Rivas at a recent GSA meeting, is presented by Somos Familia Valle. The organization’s mission is to provide awareness about the LGBTQ community of the San Fernando Valley.
Meanwhile, Brenner offered some advice on what GSA clubs need to concern themselves with when it comes to starting a GSA club. For more information on the GSA Club, visit room 3218 in the Business Building on Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m.
“Being who you are ultimately is most important to us,” Brenner said. “It’s very important that you feel comfortable in any GSA in any school, we all should have this code.”