Queer Sex Education with P.R.I.D.E

On Sept. 29, the People Respecting Individuality, Diversity and Equality Club met for their weekly meeting in Nygreen 2 at 6 p.m.

This week’s meeting was titled Queer Sex Ed, and P.R.I.D.E. club Vice President Joey Whiteford led a PowerPoint presentation that debunked some common myths and gave information about the different forms of safe sex materials. Whiteford explained why he found the presentation important for members.

“My major concern is that our members stay safe and that they are protecting themselves,” Whiteford said.

P.R.I.D.E. Club President Michelle Cerami was impressed with the positive responses that she received from students, especially because this was the first time the club hosted a sex education event.

“A lot of the times queer people don’t get queer safe sex, even if they knew all of the information tonight I think it’s good the fact that it exists and just putting it out there and putting it in people’s minds…I’m excited that some people learned things. I’m happy that this existed and we did it,” Cerami said.

Cerami is excited that Whiteford is serious about providing information to all types of queer students on the gender and sexuality spectrum. Whiteford also explained the goals he and his fellow officers have set for the school year.

“Our mission from the beginning of the year has been really building community and really giving people something to come and look forward to doing, people looking forward to being with each other and kind of having a good time and making those friends,” Whiteford said.

Cerami said in an email interview that sexual wellness is typically introduced in the first year experience, however, it is not usually catered to students of the LGBTQ community.

“Some of the Peer Advisors and Wellness interns discuss matters of sexual wellness to first years or the general student body. Growing up, some people may have been taught sex education. However, it’s really rare for LGBT+ students specifically to experience programming specifically catered for queer sexual wellness,” Cerami said.

Cerami also said that sexual wellness only happens when a community-based atmosphere is created.

“Sexual wellness only happens when we come together as a community and support and encourage one another. I want P.R.I.D.E. club to come together, laugh, have a good time and leave empowered and confident in matters of sexual wellness,” Cerami said.

Assistant Professor in the Religion Department and the Director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program Peter Carlson also commented that the P.R.I.D.E. clubs’ efforts to increase sexual wellness is important, especially because we live in a society that has typically been sex negative. Carlson’s class, Queer Theology, focuses on homosexuality and heterosexuality that tends to be the focus in today’s society.

“We tend to see sexuality as a binary between homosexuality and heterosexuality and then there are those people in the middle who might be bisexuals but they are still part of that binary. But actually Queer Theology pushes beyond that and says there’s more to sexuality than that it’s not just this or that or something in between, it’s much more complex,” Carlson said.

Carlson also focuses on creating a community within his class in the same way that P.R.I.D.E. club does for their members.

“We create a fairly intense community in the class, it’s a group of people who one of the things we really stress there is that we need to create a safe space in that classroom, it’s why I generally don’t allow visitors,” Carlson said. “We create a place where we can be completely honest with each other and that’s really hard to bring someone new in to that space.”

Carlson said that most are surprised to hear that Cal Lutheran has a healthy and vibrant queer community. However, according to “Reconciling Works Lutherans for Full Participation,” a pamphlet that describes how the Lutheran church recognizes the issues regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, it is just in the nature of the Lutheran faith to be accepting of others.

Whiteford stressed the importance of the P.R.I.D.E. club and what it means for students of the LGBTQ community to have a safe place to gather on campus.

“We’re here and we try to recognize ourselves as a safe space. We’re here to support you and we’re here to be your friends and we’re here to give you someone to come talk to and just know that there is a place for you and that we welcome you with open arms. Don’t be afraid to be yourself,” Whiteford said.

Sam DiMaggio
Staff Writer