For the first time in several years, there is a LGBTQ+ organization on Cuesta College’s campus: Cuesta Pride.
The Cuesta Pride club formed in the Fall 2020 semester. In the past, Cuesta College had a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club. However, this club has been inactive for years.
“To unite, support, foster, facilitate and create awareness for the LGBTQ+ community of Cuesta College,” is the primary objective of Cuesta Pride, according to their mission statement.
Some students have found that the absence of a pride-related organization has led to a lack of LGBTQ+ representation and advocacy on Cuesta College’s campus. This is what led to the creation of a club that aims to provide the kind of representation that some believed was missing.
“When I started at Cuesta, there wasn’t anything with a rainbow,” said Dylan M.C. Baker, club founder and president.
Despite the transition from traditional campus life to a more virtual college experience, Baker was determined to make his vision of seeing more LGBTQ+ representation on campus a reality.
Baker undertook the project of starting a brand new club from the ground up, with the goal to spread awareness and create a safe space on campus for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies.
Cuesta Pride is one of very few clubs at Cuesta College that is still holding any type of meetings or activities. Currently, the Associated Students of Cuesta College (ASCC) club roster lists only eight active clubs. However, 18 past clubs are currently inactive.
Baker utilized Canvas messaging as a way to reach out to potential members. To promote the club, Cuesta Pride created a welcome email that was sent to faculty and students. Currently, the club has about 13 members.
“The club barely passed,” Baker said. “I got grilled in the student senate hearing.”
The path to becoming an official on-campus club wasn’t easy. Baker, like others who want to form a new club at Cuesta College, was required to fill out paperwork, send emails, and bring his ideas to the student senate.
“To me, that was a win, just having it become official, because I didn’t think it was going to become official when I was in the hearing,” Baker said.
Now that Cuesta Pride has been confirmed as a Cuesta College club, Baker and the other club members have hit the ground running. They have already started work on multiple projects.
The club has partnered with the SLO Queer Archives, a Central Coast-based non-profit. According to their website, the organization is “a collaborative, community-based effort tasked with documenting the history of queer and trans lives on the California Central Coast.”
Cuesta Pride is also currently working alongside both the Cal Poly Pride Center and the Gala Pride and Diversity Center. Baker said that he and the rest of the club members are working on additional projects such as acquiring club t-shirts and writing grant applications.
Moving forward, Baker and the rest of the members of Cuesta Pride will continue to look for ways to raise awareness and promote their message.
“We have quite a few things in the pipeline,” Baker said.
To stay updated on club happenings, you can follow Cuesta Pride on Instagram @cuestapride.