Mesa’s Pride Center is a safe space for everyone

The+dance+competition+at+the+Pride+Center+grand+opening.+

Hana Marrone

The dance competition at the Pride Center grand opening.

Hana Marrone, Features Editor

Mesa College’s Pride Center had its grand opening event on Feb. 22. The Pride Center is officially open and located at D-102, near Mesa’s theater. It is a warm and welcoming place for students to gather, hang out and learn more about their identities. 

The grand opening was a hard-to-miss event because of the rainbow garland, loud upbeat music, and many people gathered to celebrate. People enjoyed themselves dancing, while groups gathered around lunch tables to relish the food that was supplied for the occasion. 

Lining the D building were a great number of tables set up to explain the different types of services and advice that students can find at the now-open Pride Center. One of the tables at the event was the Transgender Health and Wellness Center. The nonprofit group helps educate transgender nonbinary individuals on how to properly ask for different healthcare services to complete transition, according to Sedera Vargas, a transgender navigator from the Transgender Health and Wellness Center.

“At the center, I help folks navigate through the insurances because you can’t give up with them,” said Vargas. “The biggest advice I can give to somebody that is transgender is to get a prior authorization request from a medical provider indicating that whatever affirming service they want is of medical necessity.”

Vargas also talked about how the group has events at the Dojo cafe called “Transgender Nonbinary Tuesdays,” from 6-10:00 p.m. That is a safe place for people to gather to eat food, listen to music, and share artwork in comforting company. 

Vargas said, “It’s just a good place to see other leaders in the community.” 

This statement encompasses the meaning and purpose behind the Pride Center. Leaders of the Mesa community are stepping up to create an inclusive and safe environment. 

On a poster board inside the Pride Center, students described the community as a place to be seen, where people can love without bounds, and where you can be comfortable with those around you. 

The Pride Center is more than just a safe space for people to gather and share experiences. According to a pamphlet about the Pride Center, it will include a variety of counseling options, workshops, Safe Zone training, and books that incorporate the historical impact of people from the LGBTQIA+ community. 

At the event, there was a table about the Trans Family Support Services. This group has different discord servers for separate age groups to connect members of the LGBTQIA+ community together. Their more popular service is called “Gender Junk” which was explained by Kyle Dreher, a mentor at the Trans Family Support Services. 

Dreher said, “We also have gender junk which is like our more popular service and this is free gender-affirming items for anybody that wants them. You just scan the QR code and fill out what you need.” 

Listed on their flier are gender affirming items including binders, gaffs, packers, bras, StPs, and makeup. 

For more information about the Pride Center, feel free to stop by the building or contact Lucio Lira, the Pride Center Coordinator, by email at llira@sdccd.edu