As the GLBTQQA Resource Center at Colorado State University enters its 19th year on campus, it abandons the lengthy acronym in favor of a single word: pride.
Located in room 232 of the Lory Student Center, the Pride Resource Center, formerly known as the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer Questioning Allies Resource Center, offers an inclusive, safe space where people can study, congregate, learn or just relax. The former name was replaced due to concerns that not everyone felt welcomed, specifically people who identify as asexual, pansexual, intersex or gender queer according to Pride Resource Center Director Aaric Guerriero.
“I recognized that there were folks that existed and lived on campus that wanted to connect with the center, but did not see themselves (as) representative of the center name,” Guerriero said.
Guerriero said he found that some individuals didn’t like the name and were disrespectful towards the acronym.
“The more that I spoke to people, the more I found people really dismissive of our name who didn’t take the time to get the letters correct,” Guerriero said. “That’s really dismissive to identities.”
About a year ago, Guerriero talked to his staff about the prospect of changing the center’s name. After discussions about possible names took place, a survey listing four possible titles for the center went out, and over 300 responses were received. Out of the four candidates, two rose to the top. The top choice was the Pride Resource Center and the second was the Queer and Trans Resource Center. Both names were sent to the administration for approval, and the Pride Resource Center was selected.
“We think it’s a really great name. We’ve gotten nothing, but really positive feedback,” Guerriero said. “I think it takes away the frustration of people not seeing themselves in our name. I think it makes it more accessible, and it’s a step I’m really excited about moving forward.”
The students are finding the name fitting, but are also aware that a name isn’t everything.
“I like the new name a lot. It was definitely a difficult decision,” senior statistics major Ashley Brown said, who works for the center. “It was never going to be perfect. It was never going to be everyone’s favorite name, and we knew that.”
For senior art major Nathan Klein, the name is better at avoiding what he called an “alphabet soup” acronym, but the name also neglects to recognize that coming out for everyone might not be a prideful experience.
“For many students it may be about coming to terms with who they are, rather than having to automatically be joyous and prideful about their orientation,” Klein said
Sophomore social work major Grace Grooms, appreciates the simpler name as well as the support the center has provided her. After coming out as gender-fluid and pansexual, she was able to find a welcoming community, unlike the small town she grew up in.
“It was nice to come in here and feel very welcomed with open arms,” said Grooms. “I know that if I ever just need to relax or feel more comfortable, I can just come in here, sit on the couch and take a nap if I want to.”
The Pride Resource center is busy planning upcoming events and programs. This year they are launching the Safe Zone Project, which is an information and learning session geared to make people more aware, accepting and respectful of those with different identities.
“Safe zone is a three-hour session inviting facility, staff and student leaders to come and join us to learn about how they can create a more equitable and inclusive environment at CSU,” Guerriero said. “We focus on terminology. We talk about ways to be supportive. We talk about heterosexual privilege, and then we do some scenario work.”
Upcoming events include the Queer-B-Q, which will be held in conjunction with campus groups Prism and Colors, on September 7 at 5:30 p.m. at City Park and the leadership retreat which will be held at the CSU Mountain Campus September 9 through 11.
For more information about the Pride Resource Center visit their website, under their former name, at http://www.glbtrc.colostate.edu/