BY ANASTASIA LANDEROS
The newly formed Husky Pride Club already has a motto: “Come as you are.”
Founded by student Mark Alvarez, as a student led, based and run LGBT+ student club, the Husky Pride Club has not been officially chartered yet, but that hasn’t stopped the executive board from making big plans for the future.
“All of our ideas are just swarming right now,” said theater and music student Brieanna Lee, the club’s vice president.
Some of the activities that the group has planned for the future are movie screenings made by and starring LGBT+ actors and filmmakers, a talent show, makeup lessons, fundraisers and more.
“Some other stuff that we have planned is workshops, specifically geared toward LGBT (youth), such as HIV awareness (and) dealing with homophobia. A lot of that stuff doesn’t really get talked about,” said Alvarez.
Although they want to address issues like misogyny within the LGBT+ community, internalized homophobia, domestic abuse and other taboo topics circling the LGBT+ community, they also want members to have fun and create a community of openness.
“We don’t want it to be just like a serious pride club where we’re just gonna talk about coming out, HIV and things like that. We also want to teach history as well,” said Lee.
Some of the history elements that they want to educate young LGBT+ community members on are aspects like musical and pop culture influences, and the New York City drag balls of the 1960s and 1970s.
“We just want to get people to understand that— ok you guys are all into RuPaul… but do you know the history? Do you know where you’re coming from?” said Lee.
The Husky Pride Club’s own history is, although recent, developing quickly.
Its first meeting alone filled all but one vacant position that Alvarez was looking for.
Lee became vice president and student Oscar Rodriguez became treasurer.
Lee said that as soon as she saw the posters that Alvarez made, she knew it was going to be a fun experience, so she invited Rodriguez, who she’s known since they were 13 years old, and attended the club’s first meeting.
Lee’s own coming-out story plays a large part in her eagerness to take the club beyond just the confines of campus.
The day of our interview, Lee told her mother she was gay, who didn’t take the news as well as she’d hoped.
“My mother, she’s very cool…we’re very tight. She just wants me to achieve my goals. But when I told her what I was doing, she’s like ‘Why? You’re not gay are you?’”
Lee said that the rest of the conversation put her in a bad mood until she realized that she doesn’t want others to deal with the same situation alone.
“For me, I’m an only child, so it’s… hard. I don’t have the support that I want from somebody that I really want it from, so it’s nice to get together… with a bunch of people that I, we, have at least something in common with,” said Lee.
Alvarez said of Lee and treasurer Oscar Rodriguez’s eagerness to join the executive board, “I went [all over school] trying to get a sponsor, I created the poster… I literally hand-made everything, so it’s really nice to see.”
“Everything just kind of meshed… it was great. Everything kinda flowed right away,” said Lee.
Because of Lee’s and Rodriguez’s connections outside of campus, the trio plans on expanding their reach, going so far as to collaborate with another LGBT club at Los Angeles City College.
“We’re trying to just gather our community and really bring that sense of pride and unity, not just at school but outside also,” said Rodriguez.
“This is your safe space,” said Lee.
“We’re trying to make the best of it… what we deal with,” said Alvarez.
To help with building their community, Rodriguez said he came up with a unifying way to end each meeting.
“At the end of the session, we’ll end it with a handshake, high-five or a hug to really build up on the trust between each other and… to include everybody so nobody feels left out and alienated in their own community,” said Rodriguez.
The Husky Pride Club meets every Tuesday in E3 317 from 12:10 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
For more information, text @huskypr to 81010 or email the club at email@example.com.