LGBTQ+ Programs and Services holds second annual pride flag raising

The progress pride flag was raised this year on June 1. (Jannah Geraldo/The Collegian)

Fresno State raised the pride flag for the second time in its history on June 1, but many speakers said it’s even more important this year.

Held at the Maple Mall flagpole, south of the Thomas Building, the event attracted over 50 students, staff, faculty and community members to celebrate the first day of Pride Month.

LGBTQ+ student assistant coordinator Lexey Jenkins aids in the raising of the progress pride flag. (Jannah Geraldo/The Collegian)

LGBTQ+ student assistant coordinator Lexey Jenkins said that raising the flag on campus is a step towards progress, with the flag symbolizing the pride of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as letting LGBTQ+ students know there is a safe place on campus.

She said this is particularly important this year due to the increased introduction of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the U.S.

“We are only five months into 2022, and nearly 240 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in over 40 states, with over 100 bills targeting transgender youth,” Jenkins said. “It’s incredibly important to show unwavering and loud support for the community.”

LGBTQ+ assistant coordinator Lexey Jenkins speaks to the attendees during the event. (Jannah Geraldo/The Collegian)

This year the progress pride flag was raised, unique for its addition of the colors of the transgender flag as well as the colors black and brown to represent contributions of people of color to the LGBTQ+ movement, according to Jenkins.

Outgoing ASI president D’Aungillique Jackson, who said she is the first openly LGBTQ+ ASI president in Fresno State’s history, urged attendees to continue to support events such as the pride flag raising in order to contribute to maintaining a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.

“Please, continue to do this. Continue to fight for your space. Continue to put the rainbow on any and every container on campus and throughout this community, and continue to speak up for young trans lives,” Jackson said.

Outgoing ASI president D’Aungillique Jackson speaks to a crowd of over 50 attendees. (Jannah Geraldo/The Collegian)

Fresno councilmember Tyler Maxwell discussed the importance of continuing to fight for LGBTQ+ rights, citing the recently leaked draft of the Supreme Court opinion to potentially overturn Roe v. Wade.

“We’ve seen some rights that we thought were inherent to humankind can vanish overnight. We’ve seen that when it comes to the right to choose. We will not let that happen when it comes to loving another individual,” Maxwell said.

Councilmember Tyler Maxwell speaks to the attendees. (Jannah Geraldo/The Collegian)

Other speakers highlighted the recent successful advocacy for gender-affirming care (GAC), including hormonal replacement therapy (HRT), to be offered on campus.

Representing Fresno State president Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, who was unable to attend, interim provost Xuanning Fu praised the incorporation of GAC, which he said will be available on campus fall 2022.

“This makes us one of the very few CSU campuses that have this service, so be proud,” he said.

Interim provost Dr. Xuanning Fu addresses the crowd. (Jannah Geraldo/The Collegian)

Speakers also celebrated the recent Rainbow Graduation Celebration on May 21. Nine years ago the graduation had only 12 attendees, but Jenkins said this year’s had over 80. Donors gave over $5,000 to provide free rainbow regalia to each graduating student.

“I witnessed myself on May 21 how big the celebration was compared, as referred from earlier speakers, [to] how small it used to be years ago. We are growing. We are enhancing ourselves. We have become stronger, and we are gaining understanding and support,” Fu said.

Fresno State assistant professor and LGBTQ+Allies Faculty/Staff Network president Jonathan Pryor said he hopes the annual flag raising can be a sign of inclusion and safety for future Bulldogs.

“I hope whoever is new or old to campus this summer, whether they be a student, staff, faculty or community member, that when they walk, they look up and see a symbol that tells them that their university cares,” he said.

The progress pride flag can be seen on campus at the Maple Mall flagpole. (Jannah Geraldo/The Collegian)
Previous Story Review: The Belcher family takes on the big screen in ‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ article thumbnail mt-3

Review: The Belcher family takes on the big screen in ‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’

Next Story Professor and student release housing report for LGBTQ2+ community article thumbnail mt-3

Professor and student release housing report for LGBTQ2+ community