Utah Pride Center News — February 2nd, 2021

Photo of Utah Pride Center Executive Board. From left to right: Tanya Hawkins (she-her-hers), Gloria Castaneda (she-her-hers), Chris Jensen (he-him-his), Chris Decaria (she-her-hers), and Michael Iwasaki (he-him-his).
Photo of Utah Pride Center Executive Board. From left to right: Tanya Hawkins (she-her-hers), Gloria Castaneda (she-her-hers), Chris Jensen (he-him-his), Chris Decaria (she-her-hers), and Michael Iwasaki (he-him-his).

Getting to know our Board of Directors
As we enter a new year, the Utah Pride Center is proud to introduce our Executive Committee and Board Members who are responsible for developing the Utah Pride Center’s vision and mission, establishing long term goals, raising funds, and assuring financial accountability. 

Executive Committee Members Include: (From Left to Right)

  • Tanya Hawkins (she/her/hers), Board Vice Chair
  • Gloria Casteneda (she/her/hers), Executive Member at Large 
  • Chris Jensen (he/him/his), Board Chair
  • Chris Decaria (she/her/hers),Board Treasurer
  • Michael Iwasaki (he/him/his), Board Secretary 

A Message from the Executive Committee:
The Utah Pride Center is the only organization in Utah that offers services for all demographics of the LGBTQIA+ community. Because of this the Utah Pride Center is critically important to the community. Community support and input will be vital this year for the Center as we pave the way for future success. We cannot overstate the need for support from LGBTQIA+ community members. Our youth need to see support from their elders. Our elders need to see support from our younger members. The LGs need to support the BTQIA’s. We are a family and we have to show up for one another in that way.   
The year 2020 for the Pride Center (and many non-profits) was about adapting and surviving. The Pride Center has emerged from this phase and 2021’s focus will be about continued stabilization and entering into a 2 to 5 year building period where we’ll lay out an in-depth “road map” for the future and look to expand our services based on the needs of the community.

In the coming weeks and months we’ll be announcing new programs, conferences and our vision of Pride for 2021.

Board Members include:

  • Michael Fordham, (he/him/his)
  • Ariel Malan (she/her/hers)
  • Tim Johns (he/him/his)
  • Candice Pitcher (she/her/hers)
  • Joseph Dane (he/him/his)
  • Isaiah Mataele (he/him/his)
  • Emily Walker (she/her/hers)
  • John Stewart (he/him/his)

Join us in expressing deep appreciation for their commitment to the Center’s mission and goals. Click here to learn more about our Executive Committee and Board Members.

Making Schools a More Inclusive Place
On January 22 & 23, the Utah Pride Center hosted the Pride, Not Prejudice LGBTQIA+ Education Conference for educators, students, caregivers, and community members. The conference brought in over500 attendees with more people continuing to sign up to watch the recorded session. We had individuals from 47 cities in the state of Utah, 13 states outside of Utah, and individuals all the way from India and Australia. 

The mission of the Pride, Not Prejudice Education Conference was to empower students to be their authentic selves at school, enable educators to actively support these students, and to create a positive and inclusive environment in schools that results in a sustainable change for queer students throughout Utah and beyond.

Reflecting back on the 23 workshops and 48 speakers, it was shown that we wanted to include as wide of a range of information and topics as possible. These workshops allowed administrators to examine and build upon their policies, allowed teachers to dismantle the heteronormative and cisnormative classrooms, provided caregivers with the knowledge to support and advocate for their children, and gave students the opportunity to strengthen their own self-advocacy. This conference also allowed our students to see that we support them, that their identities are valid, and we will all fight together for their right to be their true authentic selves at school.

The LGBTQIA+ community has had many battles for inclusion and acceptance. It is likely we have all had  those battles ourselves. The difference with this battle is we are fighting for our children. Our children deserve to have a space that is safe and inclusive. These children will only succeed and thrive when they are told and shown that they are accepted and their identities are valid. We need to show our students they matter, they belong, and that they are loved. To those that joined us this year to make that happen, thank you! For those of you that will join us in the coming years, thank you! We are all in this together.

WatchAmanda Darrow (she/her/hers), Director of Youth, Family, & Education Programs during an In Focus discussion on ABC4. The conference was covered by several local TV Stations including ABC4, FOX13 and 2KUTV.

Celebrating Black History Month #BlackLivesMatter

Students thrive when they see themselves reflected in their curriculum. For Black LGBTQIA+ students, this means learning about and honoring history, people, and events related to their intersectional identity as both Black and LGBTQIA+.

Black History Month is in February, but the inclusion of Black LGBTQIA+ identities in school should happen all year round. – GLSEN

Transgender Military Ban Lifted
On January 25th, President Biden repealed a controversial  ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military. Biden signed an executive order saying “It is my conviction as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces that gender identity should not be a bar to military service. Moreover, there is substantial evidence that allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military does not have any meaningful negative impact on the Armed Forces.”

Dr. Rob Moolman (he/him/his), Executive Director of the Utah Pride Center commented on the news. “The Pride Center whole-heartedly supports the lifting of the ban on Transgender individuals serving in the military. We have heard the stories of our Transgender Veterans through our day-to-day programs and services, and also through our wonderful connection and collaboration with the Utah VA, and the pre-covid weekly Veterans Fridays we had here at the Center. We know the impact our transgender friends and families have while serving in the military, and the importance of allowing anyone who wants to serve this country to be able to do so. Thank you to the Biden Administration for this step!”

As reported by NPR, the executive order will take several steps:

  • It fully repeals the two different orders Trump signed barring transgender individuals from military service;
  • it immediately bars servicemembers from being discharged or denied reenlistment for their gender identity;
  • it directs the Department of Defense to correct the record of anyone dismissed from service for their gender identify;   
  • and it orders both the secretary of defense and the secretary of homeland security to begin the process of allowing transgender servicemembers to serve openly.

Watch this story from ABC4, for local reaction to the news from the community, members of Transgender Education Advocates of Utah (TEA) as well as Nick Arteaga (he/him/they/them), Adult Programs Manager at the Utah Pride Center.

Getting to Know Our Team
  We want to spotlight Bandon Devlin (he/him/his), our Client Coordinator here at the Utah Pride Center Community Counseling. He helps potential clients with our wonderful, highly skilled, LGBTQIA+ affirming and sex-positive therapists. He says this is the best job he’s ever had.

“I found I really wanted to be a direct part of making change within my communities rather than only helping others to do so, which led me to the Utah Pride Center,” said Devlin.
Brandon is originally from Fort Collins, Colorado. He show’s pride by consistently challenging his own assumptions and areas of privilege, educating himself about other perspectives, and encouraging folks in his life to do the same. 

As a Coloradan living in Utah, he feels like “exploring the mountains and hiking” are probably a given, but nonetheless true. He also loves to cook, read fantasy novels (The Wheel of Time is his favorite). He has built his own PC’s for the last 7 years or so. Impressive! And enjoys playing video games and listening to podcasts as well.

Thank you Brandon for being part of the Utah Pride Center Family.

Spotlighting Our Community Partner
  We want to give a shout out to our community partner Equality Utah. They’re up on Capitol Hill fighting for our rights, keeping us informed and sharing our stories with legislators. Visit this link to stay informed. #EqualityUtah

Spotlighting Our Sponsor
  We want to thank the Young Automotive Group for donating advertisements that are currently airing on X96.3. Thank you for supporting the Utah Pride Center and our mission to save lives. #WeLoveYou

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! #UtahPrideCenter


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