LGBTQ resources at Pierce and beyond

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Where can a student go for solidarity?

When June rolls around, western Washington celebrates LGBTQ pride every year in Seattle. Among the crowds are those who are accepting, loving and fighting for gay rights. But once Pride is over, where do they go? Where do they find solidarity and support? More importantly, is there anywhere for them to go at all?

Cameron Cox, director of Student Life at Pierce Fort Steilacoom, said there are a few resources available on campus. There are several brochures in the Student Life office relating to LGBTQ topics, such as the brochure for the Rainbow Center.

Lorelei Watson/Staff Photo
Originally flown with eight strips the pride flag was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978.

The Rainbow Center is an organization in Tacoma that maintains a safe space for the LGBTQ community. The center, located at 2215 Pacific Avenue in Tacoma, is available to people of all ages and provides “a community hub, education and resource services.” The Rainbow Center hosts events year-round, including dances, lunch gatherings, transgender social meetups and the Tacoma Pride Festival (happening this year July 13 – 21).

Another resource is the Gender Alliance of the South Sound. The organization focuses on those who are transgender and offer peer counseling, support and community. They hold meetings at the Rainbow Center on the second Tuesday and also on the second, fourth and fifth Friday of each month. The alliance also hosts discussion groups in Olympia in the 4th Avenue Ward Building at 408 7th Avenue Southeast at 8 p.m. Wednesdays. Additionally, there’s a New Boyz Club at 7 p.m. every other Friday in the same building.

When it comes to an LGBTQ club on campus, Cox said, “We have had several LGBTQ+ clubs at Pierce College over the years. We do not have an active one currently. As with many clubs at Pierce, when the students running the club graduate or transfer, the clubs often cease to exist if no students are here to keep them running, which is what has happened with the LGBTQ+ clubs.”

If there are students looking to create a new club, there is hope.

“We do still have time to ratify some clubs this year, and they can continue their charter for next year as well, if they fill out the charter continuation from this quarter,” Cox said. “Which means, it is not too late to get a club going this year.”

Cox said there are LGBTQ resources listed on the counseling resources page of the Pierce website at pierce.ctc.edu/counseling-services.

There are several resources online for the LGBTQ community. Many online groups are open, like the “LGBT+ chat” group on the phone application Vent, or chat servers on the computer application Discord.

Websites that provide support for LGBTQ individuals, like The Trevor Project, offer online and phone therapy for LGBTQ youth. The Human Rights Campaign has news reports regarding LGBTQ issues, such as marriage equality and transgender bathroom bills. GLAAD (formerly the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is another news-focused site for LGBTQ people.