By April Rodriguez
Lynn Wood provides a brave safe space to the LGBTQ+ community at East Los Angeles College. She is the Student Services Assistant on campus and oversees the Pride Center.
Some of these services include advice, mentorship, basic needs support, resource referral and class registration assistance.
The center has been open for a year, approximately since students returned to campus from the COVID-19 isolation.
The center offers students a way to come and interact with other allies, and most importantly, provide students a place where they get their needs met.
Wood offers every student an opportunity to fill out an LGBTQ+ Center Interest Form which asks for the students ID number, their name if they are comfortable, the purpose for visiting the center and their gender pronouns/self-identity. This form can be found on flyers located at the center which provides a QR code for the form.
This not only allows her to get to know students that come into the center, but it allows them to express whatever they need to say or even ask for support.
Wood makes it a priority to set up the Pride Center in a way that students can de-stress and also feel comfortable. There are multiple colorful couches and stuffed animals which allow students to rest.
Wood offers a selection of Queer literature by several different authors at the center that students can rent out using their student ID number. These books are only offered at the center and are not available to find at the campus library.
She provides a variety of different snacks and beverages that she purchases for any student who comes into the center. She also sets up a diffuser for aromatherapy as she plays calm lo-fi music on the TV.
“I’ve had some students come to eat their lunch because it is the only place they feel safe to eat at,” Wood said.
She also shared that some students will come and take a nap on the couches for a while. The center is very secluded and is hard to find, however some students prefer that as a way to be away from the crowd.
“Some students are scared that someone will see them here,” Wood said, as many of these students have not come out yet.
She aims to help the center grow more in population and also to get more support from the school.
Wood shared she wants more support in advertisements so students are aware of the outlets they have. She also wants more maintenance done in the center, such as repainting the walls and cleaning the carpet. She shared the school has not provided these services in a long time.
Wood offers many ways for students to communicate to her aside from coming into the center. She provides her email, office number and the Pride Centers instagram.
The center is open Monday – Thursday 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. and closes at 12 p.m. You can find the center at the F5 building, third floor, room 323 down the hallway.