Sac State PRIDE spotlights community partnerships at annual event

Center hosts virtual ‘Queer Welcome’


Shelby Tolly

Tranh Pham, interim coordinator at the PRIDE Center, pictured in the PRIDE Center’s Queer Welcome annual event via zoom on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. There, she educated attendees on PRIDE Center’s emotional, social, physical and academic resources and services to students. Screenshot by Shelby Tolly

Shelby Tolly

“Queer Welcome” is an annual celebration for LGBTQ+ students, employees and allies to learn about the PRIDE Center and its services. This year, it took place over Zoom on Tuesday.

Hosted by Tranh Pham, the interim coordinator at the PRIDE Center, there were five breakout rooms. In each, partnerships and resources the PRIDE Center uses were showcased. 

Located on the University Union’s first floor at Sacramento State, the PRIDE Center focuses on supporting LGBTQ+ students with academic, professional and personal goals. The center offers services and scholarships to address the unique challenges in the community as students. 

Pham said the purpose of this year’s “Queer Welcome” is to bring the LGBTQ+ community together at Sacramento State by welcoming new and returning students and staff to campus.

“We’re excited to see so many of you joining this afternoon to support the [PRIDE] Center’s work, which promotes, fosters and enhances intersectionality, community, advocacy and liberation among LGBTQ+ students at Sac State,” Pham said. 

Aisha Engle, the coordinator at the Women’s Resource Center, described the five breakout rooms as a tool to help offer support for LGBTQ+ students and faculty attending “Queer Welcome” from personal to financial needs.

“[The breakout rooms] offer support around personal, social, emotional, intellectual, financial and civic needs,” Engle said. 

Resources like Queer Connect, a weekly support group for members of the LGBTQ+ community were among the services named.  

Currently held on Zoom every Wednesday, students can sign up on the Student Health and Counseling Services website to talk to a peer counselor. 

“There’s just so much need for people to be heard, for students to be heard during these trying times,” said Katie Dickson, a PRIDE Center peer counselor. 

Dickson said there are only 15 peer counselors, and she is specifically assigned to the PRIDE Center. She said she hopes that they will have peer counselor sessions in person soon.

The Sacramento LGBT Community Center was also mentioned. The center aims to help LGBTQ+ people thrive through advocacy and health and wellness support. 

One of the resources also includes a Healthy Relationship Cohort. Jess Lemos, a student manager for Student Health and Counseling Services, says the cohort leads lessons on healthy relationships, sexual health, safe sex practices and sexual violence prevention on campus. 

Lemos also said students can get items like condoms at Student Health and Counseling Services located at The WELL. 

RELATED: Back on-campus: A guide to navigating Sac State

Nathan Bach, another student manager for Student Health and Counseling Services, said that their offerings also include medical care, urgent care, pharmacy services and tobacco quit kits. 

Bach also spoke about an upcoming “Mingling over Mocktails” series that will be held once per month on Wednesdays. Open to LGBTQ+ students and allies, the series will start on Oct. 20 and will be located at The WELL. According to Bach, students can sign up on their patient portal.

“[We have] a series of fun evening events made just for LGBTQ+ students and allies, where we’ll come together once per month and we’ll do fun activities,” Bach said. 

Aisha Engle, a coordinator at the Women’s Resource Center, explains how the PRIDE Center offers personal and financial needs to LGBTQ+ students at Sac State during “Queer Welcome” on Tuesday, Sept 21, 2021. Each resource was showcased in five separate breakout rooms for event participants to attend. Screenshot by Shelby Tolly. (Shelby Tolly)

“Queer Welcome” also shared the PRIDE Center’s legacy and history at Sac State. 

James Fox and Lynn Drennan from Gerth Special Collections and University Archives kicked off the “History of The PRIDE Center” segment of the event. 

“History is being created on our campus every day,” Fox said. “LGBTQ+ issues are happening, and we’re trying to archive that. We are all about the history of Sac State and the history of our region.”

In their history segment, Fox and Drennan told the story of Otto Butz, Sac State’s president in 1971 who refused to recognize The Society for Homosexual Freedom as a student organization, saying the club would “attract homosexuals to the campus, and expose minors to homosexual advocacy and practices” according to past State Hornet coverage

Then, the Associated Students of Sacramento State College sued Butz, so LGBTQ+ students were able to gather as a student organization. The judge ruled in favor of the students and the society would later help establish the PRIDE Center in 2006.

Vice President of Student Affairs Ed Mills was also in attendance and said that the PRIDE Center has a special place in his heart. 

“[Sac State] is the only university I’ve ever worked at or attempted to have a PRIDE Center,” Mills said. 

Pham said that overall, while providing partnerships with different LGBTQ+ resources on campus, the PRIDE Center strives to foster a safe campus environment for LGBTQ+ students.

The PRIDE Center’s mission is to create and maintain a campus environment that is open, safe and supportive of student diversity in the areas of sexual orientation and gender identity expression,” she said. 

The Center offers resources, services, scholarships, and programming to address the unique challenges in the community as students. 

For more information, students can contact a PRIDE Center representative at their email address [email protected] or by phone at (916) 278-3940.