By Emma Wu Shortt ‘20
As a highly liberal, left-leaning consortium, one would expect the 5Cs to have a thriving queer community across the campuses. However, although this community is beginning to form with the help of Safe Space (a 5C student-run queer organization) and QQAMP (the queer mentoring program on campus), historically there have been divisions between campuses that have hindered the growth of this powerful community. Due to the Queer Resource Center’s location at Pomona, many community members feel as though this is isolating for the rest of the campuses because the trek is sizable. A student-run club called Safe Space seeks to remedy this issue. A student leader at Safe Space, Sasha Rivera reports that, “Safe Space’s goal is to encompass the entire queer community at the 5Cs and bring them together to weaken these divisions. That’s why our meeting place is in SCORE at Scripps, which is more central in terms of campuses than the QRC.” Regardless of its location, the QRC provides many resources and spaces such as an LGBTQ+ library for queer students to regroup. In addition to Safe Space, there is collaboration occurring between different queer clubs on the 5Cs. They are banding together to put together a Queer Mixer on Oct. 7 to give queer students a chance to interact and meet one another. This is just the first of many collaborative events in the hopes of building a stronger, and more inclusive queer community.
Despite its liberally inclusive status, the 5C campuses are not without their incidences of transphobic and queerphobic microaggressions. A student at Pitzer and Safe Space Leader, Elliott Joyce, describes the situation saying, “I’ve heard of microaggressions... Especially to people of color and trans people. There’s just not a lot of understanding among staff and teachers...trans people get misgendered or called the wrong name a lot, especially those who haven’t medically or legally begun to transition.” Also, the issue of ‘white feminism’ or ‘white liberalism’ has become apparent on campuses. It increasingly becomes clear that discussion spaces need to include more queer community members and people of color. In addition to this, many queer people of color face racial discrimination in addition to queerphobic or transphobic microaggressions. To work to overcome these prejudices we must increase awareness and education about queer issues and activism on campus and form a conscious effort to include queer people in discussions.
However, despite these ongoing issues and concern, there is an opportunity for a close knit and courageous queer community to form assisted by the efforts of Safe Space, QRC, QQAMP, and other singular campus based organizations. Banding together makes us powerful, and as we all know — there is much to accomplish.
1 / 1