This semester, Goucher’s LGTBTQIA group, changed its name to PRIDE
PRIDE stands for “people representing individual diversity and equality.” The name change was changed from PRISM due to low membership in the club and negative connotations regarding the group’s former name, PRISM.
“No one in the club actually knew what the old name meant. Equally big was that membership was dwindling. We figured that part of the reason was that people had a very negative stigma of the old name, and we wanted to show that this was a new club with new leadership, and new goals, and a new focus and new structure. And we felt a name change would be a good way to do that. It would be one of the ways to do that at least,” said President Eric Ascher ‘16.
PRIDE was coined by a Goucher group member. Ascher is a fan of the new name. “First of all it’s a great acronym, but moreover it represents being proud of who you are which is [important within] the LGBT community,” he said.
Ascher said that the inner workings of the club have already changed dramatically since last semester, and that the name change will most likely continue this transformation.
“Last semester there were lots of issues: lots of in fighting, lots of drama. But now it’s happier, more peaceful. Everyone gets along for the most part, and I think that if you come to a meeting you’ll see it.”
A former PRISM member, referred to as “they,” by their gender pronouns, has been studying abroad, and therefore wasn’t around for the vote. They aren’t convinced that a name change will remedy the clubs tensions or public image.
“I think the name change is a mistake. I have personally heard that there is stifling transphobia in the club currently, making trans students feel silenced or uncomfortable. Don’t attempt to change the club’s image if you can’t change the club’s attitude. It’s just adding a new coat of paint to a crumbling structure.”
They stated that they saw issues with biphobia, transphobia, and racism within the club, and their agenda as club president largely revolved around eradicating these attitudes. They believe they acted as an activist for queer students by campaigning for such initiatives as more gender neutral bathrooms on campus.
“I’m not gonna lie – it hurts. When I saw the proposal to change the name, I couldn’t help but feel like everything I fought to accomplish with PRISM – dialogues about race and queer identities, combating biphobia and transphobia, and many other things – was rendered inadequate. People don’t understand how damn difficult running and leading a club like PRISM is. It was unbelievably stressful. No matter what I did, somebody was upset. I was disrespected, harassed, reduced to tears on more than one occasion. I ended up dreading meetings. At one point, I was scared to leave my room because of harassment I received from certain individuals. I made some mistakes, and I lost my temper a few times. I wasn’t a perfect leader, hell, I probably wasn’t even liked much, but I tried my hardest and accomplished a lot. It’s easy to criticize leaders if you’re not one of them. It’s easy to sit back and complain without lifting a finger yourself. It’s not easy to lead a group like PRISM,” they said.
Although Ascher is unsure of the name-change’s success, he is optimistic.
“It’s still in the early stages. I would hope that it would change things. I mean that’s the only reason to do it, is if you actually think it would make a difference.”
They are also hopeful that the name change will allow for the club to succeed in social justice initiatives and ambitions.
“I hope that PRIDE can create positive change on campus for LGBTQ+ students. But if attitudes can’t change within the club, nothing can.”
PRIDE meets Thursdays from 6-6:45 pm in the Heubeck Lounge.