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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Complicated UA politics surrounding LGBTQ rights

Rebecca Noble

People march along Fourth Avenue during Pride on Parade on Saturday, Oct. 10, carrying banners in support of LGBTQ rights. The parade has been a mainstay for the Tucson Pride Week since 2000, and serves the purpose of giving those in the LGBTQ community a public stage to be proud of who they are.

Recently, the politics of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Questioning rights have received a significant amount of attention in light of the Supreme Court’s historic ruling, released back in June.

In the Tucson region, the issues regarding the politics of the LGBTQ community have not been nearly as visible as others in the national political scene.

For the Tucson LGBTQ community, the main focus of their efforts has been to promote more awareness and inclusion initiatives to help bridge gaps between the Tucson community, the University of Arizona community and the entire LGBTQ community.

ASUA’s Pride Alliance, alongside the UA’s Office for LGBTQ Affairs have been working to promote issues of inclusion on campus and in the Tucson community.

One area that they have been working on is promoting more awareness about LGBTQ groups that the community may not be as familiar with.

“We’re bringing attention to some of the groups such as the asexual and non-binary communities that have been marginalized in the past,” said Kat Hermanson, who works with the Pride Alliance on campus.

Some of these inclusion efforts have led to changes on campus. In the past few years through the efforts of the Pride Alliance, LGBTQ Affairs and other groups, new standards have been established for gender-neutral bathrooms in campus buildings that are being constructed or renovated.

There are other ongoing efforts such as the Weekly LGBTQ Support Groups held on campus three times a week. On Mondays the Gender Spectrum Support Group is held at Campus Health; on Tuesdays the LGBTQ Support Group is held at the Student Union and on Thursdays the Queer and Trans People of Color Discussion is held at the MLK Building.

Many of the efforts of the Pride Alliance have been to work with groups on campus and groups within the community towards building more cooperation and communication between them. In order to do this they have focused on creating more widespread awareness at the UA.

“The University can be a bubble that can be difficult to break out of at times,” Hermanson said. “We are collaborating with many groups to get them involved within the community by bringing new events to everyone’s attention.”

As a result of the many out-of-state students coming to the UA, there can be some difficulties in getting them involved with new events and engagement opportunities.

“New students tend to be insular in general which tends to create a cultural gap between the Tucson community and new students, especially those that come from out of town,” Hermanson said.

In terms of the political environment for the LGBTQ community their sole focus has not been entirely upon policy, but rather by establishing more organized and diverse groups on campus and in the community where growth is often easier to achieve.

“There are more opportunities growing outside of campus through organizations like SAGA (Southern Arizona Gender Alliance) and other non-profit groups,” Hermanson said.

With continued efforts to engage the community within the campus and vice-versa, the Pride Alliance and LGBTQ Affairs are hoping to generate more awareness and create a more inclusive environment at the UA and throughout the Tucson community.

Follow Sebastian Laguna on Twitter.

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