Members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Alliance (LGBTA) were out in force yesterday decorating the Matador Walk in colorful sidewalk chalk in an attempt to generate awareness for a potential Queer Resource Center.
The words “Support Queer Resource Center” and “Create a Safe Space” were written on the walk space in hopes of garnishing support for a campus resource center.
Karlee Johnson, 20, journalism major and vice president of LGBTA, said the organization is hoping to create a safe and secure place for students to assemble and feel comfortable in their own skin.
“In this resource center we want a hub where you can come and find like minded people and you can find out about political actions and you can just stay there and hangout,” Johnson said. “But we want a library as well, like a queer literature library with information to medical resources. It’s a different experience for an LGBT person to go to see a physician then it is for a heterosexual person sometimes.”
The chalking of the Matador Walk is the LGBTA’s way of spreading the word for student endorsement.
“Queer is a reclaimed term,” Johnson said. “The definition of queer, apart from being odd, is to go against the norm.”
Brit Sharon, a 21-year-old journalism major and LGBTA member, said she wants students to know that the center will not be for the organization alone, but for future students as well.
Sharon said of the 35,000 students on campus, about 10 percent are queer-identified. Approximately 3,500 (not including alumni or those who just want information) students could utilize the facility.
“Its not just for now, it’s for the future,” Sharon said. “It’s for people in five years.When we’re not here to speak up at least they’ll have a place already created for themselves to feel safe.”
Jeffrey Zide, a 20-year-old LGBTA member compared the Queer Resource Center to the Women’s Center and the Chicano House.
“It’s a space for us (the LGBT community),” Zide said. “It’s where anybody can go and feel safe.”
Johnson said the proposed center aims to be campus run.
“The space we’re looking at has a kind of office space; we’d like to have a counselor there and a director,” Johnson said. “And also the students in the Queer Studies minor would get credit for running it. We’ve solicited AS and the USU and we also have a grant. We got a grant from an organization called Campus Progress out of Washington, D.C. ( for $850).”
Johnson said they also have the support of faculty and several administrators on campus, including Christopher Aston, activities coordinator for Student Development and International Programs, Tom Piernik, director of Student Development and International Programs and Debra Hammond, executive director of the University Student Union (USU).
Johnson said there is nothing like the proposed Queer Resource Center in the San Fernando Valley.
“So when this would be created it would be the first, in the valley,” Johnson said. The closest one is the Gay and Lesbian Center in Los Angeles. (The Queer Resource Center) would be a place for education. It’s all inclusive. All inclusive is our big goal, everyone’s welcome.”
Garrett Kynard, CTVA major, 18, said this center is something that the campus really needs.
“I want people to feel comfortable as soon as they get here,” Kynard said. “I want them to have that safe place and be able to come out and live their life as they, you know, were born.”