SUU Pride Alliance is an organization dedicated to acceptance, education, and healing, which is exactly why it’s needed. For many, Pride Alliance is saving lives.
According to their mission statement, Pride Alliance is “dedicated to supporting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual community on the campus of Southern Utah University.”
The organization contains a number of resources for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as allies. Some of these include Safe Zone Training, which is a curriculum meant to educate others on the core aspects of marginalized groups, along with an annual film festival, CAPS group, and several clubs supporting the community.
According to Andrea Donovan, a Mental Health Intervention Specialist with CAPS, an alliance for this community is essential.
“LGBTQIA+ students disproportionately experience mental health challenge indicators and experiences because marginalized populations are more consistently impacted by interlocked and systemic structural inequality.”
She continues to explain that these individuals are three times as likely to experience suicidal thoughts than heterosexual-identifying individuals. Research shows that organizations in higher education, like Pride Alliance, save lives.
“Oppressive responses to sexual orientation are the driving forces behind the elevated numbers of LGBTQIA+-identified folks who attempt to or who take their lives, and positive social responses to orientation diversity are protective factors.”
Those protective factors are exactly what Pride Alliance has to offer SUU students and community members. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion on campus is considered a “safe space” for individuals and clubs to meet.
Alongside physical resources, the SUU Pride Alliance website has several digital resources for students, faculty and staff. Some of these include specific terms to be aware of, information about healthcare services in Cedar City and even requests for training on campus.
Tyler Barber, a senior majoring in French, is extremely grateful for what Pride Alliance has done for him personally.
“I have found great friendships with faculty and staff in Pride Alliance,” said Barber. “They have proven to be great allies as they have been a resource for support and encouragement as I maneuver through a more conservative area. They have helped to make SUU a safe haven in times of need.”
Radiating acceptance and positivity, the Pride Alliance Resource page proudly states, “To our LGBTQIA+ students, please know you belong here. You are supported, you are valid, and you are not alone. We look forward to working alongside you.”
For those interested in using resources from Pride Alliance, visit their website, https://www.suu.edu/pridealliance/, or visit the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in the Sharwan Smith Student Center.
Story by: Amanda Walton
Photo Courtesy of Southern Utah University