Pride Center offers guidance to being an ally to LGBTQ+ community


The Pride Center hosted a How to be an Ally event which focused on intersex individuals at American River College on Oct. 24. (Photo by Marquala Brown)

Marquala Brown

The American River College Pride Center hosted a How to be an Ally to LGBTQ+ event to bring awareness and educate about the intersex community on Oct. 24.

The Pride Center’s goal for the event, which was held Oct. 24, was to help the ARC community better understand gender and sexual identity of LGBTQ+ students and the challenges they face on the campus and bring awareness to Intersex Day. The event brought students together to discuss the resources available and how to connect to LGBTQ+ students at ARC.

The event mainly focused on intersex individuals, what it means to be intersex and the difference between intersex and transgender. ARC Pride Center student peer mentor Tori Miller and student personnel Alejandra Fernandez Garcia, hosted the event. 

“People who are transgender, identify with a gender that is not the same as their gender assigned at birth,” Miller said.

According to Fernandez Garcia, being intersex is different than being transgender.

“People who are intersex have physical and/or genetic differences that don’t fit neatly into typical binary sex,” Fernandez Garcia explained. 

According to California Legislative Information’s website, which provides access to information about California Law Codes and bills, the intersex US population is about 1.7% and California became the first state in 2018 to pass legislation on intersex rights, via California SCR-110. This law blocks the performance of unnecessary surgeries on intersex individuals; which means that intersex individuals will no longer be forced to undergo irreversible procedures.

“Historically, in the medical profession there has been an obsession with making sure people confine to these categories, of either fitting into male or female,” Fernandez Garcia said.

According to information from the California Legislative Information website, many of the people who have gone through these surgeries suffer from depression and severe psychological and physiological harm later in life.

Anita Fortman is a general counselor and Pride Center liaison counselor who attended the event. 

“It’s important to understand and expand my knowledge about intersex people and their identities so I can better serve those students on campus,” Fortman said.

For more information about the LGBTQ+ community and how to be an ally, visit the ARC Pride Center located in the Student Center inside the HUB, open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.