CSU’s Pride Resource Center promotes diversity, inclusivity during annual Queer-B-Q

Elena Waldman

Now heading into its 20th year at Colorado State University, the Pride Resource Center started the semester off strong with its annual community barbecue last week at the City Park Reservation Shelter. Despite the stormy weather, the colloquial “Queer-B-Q” was full of laughter, conversation and food.

LGBTQ+ flag hangs up
A CSU LGBTQ+ Flag hangs in front of shelter #7 ofCity Park, for the Price Resource Center’s annual “Queer-B-Q.” Mackenzie Pinn | Collegian

The PRC is one of seven Student Diversity Programs and Services that provides students with space and community to express or explore their identities, whether it be regarding their gender or sexual orientation. In addition to the PRC, SDPS includes the Asian American Pacific Cultural Center, the Black/African American Cultural Center, El Centro, the Native American Cultural Center, Resources for Disabled Students and the Women and Gender Advocacy Center.

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The Queer-B-Q featured the several student organizations within the PRC — Bi, Ace, Aro, Pan, Poly, Queer and Questioning (BAAPPQ), Queer Women Engaging in an Encompassing Nexus (QWEEN), Queer Connections, GIG, COLORS, Ostem, PRISM and Graduate QTs. Representatives from each club spoke about their individual purposes and goals and welcomed newcomers into the inclusive space.

The environment is hard for queer and trans folks right now. It’s not always easy to exist openly in this world. So if we can come together and laugh and have fun, that’s important healing work for us to do.”-Dora Frias, Director of Pride Resource Center

The gathering was initially created by PRISM, a student-run organization that focuses on building an enriching, safe and empowering community on campus for LGBTQ+ identifying people through hosting events such as the notable CSU Drag Show. A few years after its conception, the Queer-B-Q was picked up by the Pride Center which expanded it into an event for all PRC-affiliated organizations to come together and celebrate.

“(PRC) came to support the organizations and create a highlighted spot and space for all the organizations to be able to have visibility,” said Emily Ambrose, former PRC Director. “The idea is that it’s a collaborative space where lots of the community can come and gather and learn about the resources that will support them.”

people smiling
Supporters of CSU’s Pride Resource Center enjoy food and company at the annual “Queer-B-Q,” held at City Park. Mackenzie Pinn | Collegian

The organizations represented at the get-together also shared information about their purpose, upcoming events and meetings. Dora Frias, the current director of the PRC, said that although the queer and trans community is the heart of the PRC, all allies are welcome at PRC’s social gatherings.

Frias also said that because of the current political climate, spaces where people are free to be their authentic selves are incredibly important for the well-being of diverse or marginalized individuals. 

“This might be the first time for a first-year student that they are in a space like this, with as many queer and trans folks that were here today,” Frias said. “I also think that in the current climate, it’s a big burden for us to celebrate and be in joy and community. The environment is hard for queer and trans folks right now. It’s not always easy to exist openly in this world. So if we can come together and laugh and have fun, that’s important healing work for us to do.”

Second-year computer science major Michelle Hernandez said that events like this help people who might be exploring their identities or are not yet comfortable with expressing their identities can find comfort in speaking to others whom they can relate to.

“Events like this are great, especially in places where there’s not (diversity)- where I’m from, it’s a conservative small town,” Hernandez said. “I’ve never learned about Pride at all until I came to CSU, which I think is the reality for a lot of people. I think having these kinds of events helps says to people that are closed off, or afraid, or questioning, that it’s okay to be yourself and this is a great environment to be yourself.”

people sitting down, smiling
Supporters of CSU’s Pride Resource Center enjoy food and company at the annual “Queer-B-Q,” held at City Park. Mackenzie Pinn | Collegian

Kate Plymale, a first-year political science major, said she came to build relationships with progressive and like-minded people, which can sometimes be difficult to do in the very large student body at CSU.

“I’m personally trying to find places and people who are more open and willing to meet other new and different people,” Plymale said. “I feel like the diversity (at CSU) is sort of slim, so being able to go to an event where that’s accepted and it’s broad was important for me to check out.”

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The Pride Center is hosting its 20th anniversary dinner 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 20 in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

The Pride Center is hosting its 20th anniversary dinner on Oct. 20 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theatre. Everyone interested in joining the festivities must register beforehand. All students are welcome and encouraged to join the PRC in celebrating diversity and representation.  

“I think in order to have a resilient student experience, it’s important to be in community,” said Jon Aparicio, an SDPS counselor. “These events are very important for student satisfaction, and being able to lean on each other is important for students.”

Elena Waldman can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com and on Twitter @WaldmanElena.