Rainbow Alliance to become more inclusive at Sac State

David Phan

The Queer Straight Alliance Club at Sacramento State changed its name to Rainbow Alliance this semester as part of a plan to restart after inactivity and conflicts between officers.

Program Coordinator for the Pride Center Chris Kent, 27, a history graduate student who has been managing student employees at the center for two and a half years, said people are hoping to get it back and running again.

“Queer straight alliance went inactive so the students that wanted to get it active again wanted to change the name to give a fresh start,” Kent said.

Kent hopes club members will become more involved this time around. The club had officers but no club members last semester. The first meeting he attended this semester had anywhere between 50 to 60 people show up.

“With any student organization, sometimes folks graduate,” Kent said. “Other folks go on to other things and take on other projects. Sometimes course work become really heavy and things peter out.”

In addition to the name center, the Pride Center announced a new event called “Queer Healing Circle” in which LGBTQ students come together to talk about personal and community healing, based on the type of oppression they are being subjected to. Kent said a counselor should serve as a monitor at the meetings.

With the recent creation of a committee designated for Pride Week planning, Kent hopes the result will be raised awareness of Pride Week on campus this semester.

Other strides the Pride Center is leaning toward is an increased amount of gender-inclusive restrooms and proper acknowledgement of gender pronouns, Kent explaining that some people prefer to go by a different pronoun than what is on the roster.

“We want to make sure that folks have a restroom that folks feel safe to use,” Kent said. “Whether it’s a locker room, or a residence hall, it’s kind of scary spaces to navigate.”

Gina Rodriguez, who goes by “G,” a biology major and staff member at Pride, said the history with Queer Straight Alliance reflects a time when it was not encouraging to participate in.

“It wasn’t very diverse and it wasn’t very inclusive to all type of people,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t feel welcomed there, although it wasn’t apparent. I felt like I was the only person of color. I stopped going because I wasn’t connecting with people.”

Rodriguez also went on to say the previous years saw officers not seeing eye-to-eye and went “freeze-mode” because of a lack of officers. He stated the demand and need for social spaces like the Pride Center and Rainbow Alliance.

Rodriguez also added that Queer Straight Alliance was predominantly for cisgender, gay, white men. He hopes Rainbow Alliance would add diversity and resolve some of the problems the club had in the past.

Donovan McKinley, a 23-year-old staff member at the center, agrees the name Rainbow Alliance is more inclusive, mentioning a trend of colleges like University of California Davis and Sierra College also naming their clubs Rainbow Alliance.

McKinley said he feels like the name Queer Straight Alliance placed too much emphasis on straight individuals.

“I feel like this is more a queer space,”McKinley said. “It’s important to have allies, but I feel like the space should be geared towards gays.”