The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Queer Straight Alliance organizes districtwide event

City College hosts the first district wide LGBT conference, which was attended by representatives from each campus of the Los Rios District, in the student center on Friday, March 16. Jeff Rawlinson | [email protected].

More than 100 members and supporters of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transsexual community participated March 16 in the first Los Rios District LGBT conference.

Students and faculty members from the four Los Rios District Community Colleges attended the event meant to promote openness, awareness and understanding, according to Sherri Goldberg, the City College Assessment Center supervisor who organized the event.

City College vice presidents Michael Poindexter and Dr. Mary Turner attended the first part of the conference to voice City College administration’s support.

“On behalf of Sacramento City College I would like to welcome you to [the LGBT conference] today,” said Turner.  “I am very proud myself to work for an institution that values diversity.”

In the City College Student Center, speaker Michael Cowans discussed his experience as a gay high school teacher who remains in the closet at work because he wants to move into an administration position and thinks that may not happen if his sexual orientation is known.

“I want to move up in my district,” he said. “I’m from a small community and small town… they would probably move me around until I got sick of it and moved to another district.”

Goldberg said interactive discussions during the conference helped bring some LGBT student issues to light.

“We broke into groups each group started brainstorming about what we would like to be an ideal campus in terms of climate and then what are some of the problems that we have like harassment and teachers not intervening [when] inappropriate comments are made, just moving on rather than saying that it is inappropriate,” she said.

Thomas Rojek, a student at American River College, said he appreciated the structure of the conference.

“They jumped right away into the big issues,” Rojek said. “This is actually pointing out the issues and in a blunt way, it’s going to invoke a reaction.”

After the conference members of the Queer and Straight Alliance club hosted a talent show, Fabulosity in Red, featuring students from Los Rios Community College campuses.  Michael Griffin, the club’s president, said the event was planned in four months and has been something the club has wanted to do when he became president last year.
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“It ultimately just took a lot of hard work, finding the talent and just getting the word out there,” said Griffin, a theatre arts major.

QSA Club adviser and anthropology professor Natascha Storms opened the show with performing with two others, a dance blending hip-hop and belly dancing.

“A lot of gay students find their self expression in art,” Storms said. “Especially in high school when it’s not really okay to be out.”

The night’s event also included a skit, poetry reading, vocal performances, dance and comedy. City College student Samantha Breece said her favorite performance of the night was beat boxer Bryan Henry.

“I think events like this are important because they are inviting for people who aren’t necessarily LGBT, anybody can come and watch. It’s definitely an inviting atmosphere,” Breece said.

The QSA opened the auditions for students from all the district’s colleges.

“We formed a club where we have all the QSAs of Sacramento come together so we advertised on their campuses and let them know we were holding auditions so we have performers from different schools,” Griffin said.

Goldberg said she hopes to have another LGBT conference next year, though she didn’t start thinking about it until this one was over.

Griffin said he hopes if QSA hosts another talent show they have more even more support and people.

“Any event that celebrates culture, especially on our campus because it’s so diverse, it’s very important and I can definitely see this becoming an annual thing.”

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