Reviving a Space for Queer Students

By Lauren Mar

Alexandra du Manoir ’26 and Gabby Boles ’26

After being established at Scripps in the 1980s as an affinity group for LGBTQ+ students, the student-run club (CLORG) Family went dormant during the COVID-19 pandemic. But last year, a group of three first-year students decided to restart Family after hearing about it from juniors and seniors.

“Family provides a supportive space for self-identifying queer students to both socialize and engage in advocacy,” says Alexandra du Manoir ’26, the club’s current president.

Family meets weekly in the living room of Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment (SCORE). In addition to their meetings, the club hosts engaging events aimed to bring LGBTQ+ students in community with each other. Last spring, Family collaborated with SCORE and the consortium-wide Queer Resource Center (QRC), housed at Pomona College, to hold a “Sapphic Soiree.” This semester, Family orchestrated a beach trip to Malibu for a small group of students.

Beyond social events, Family has also been focused on making change on campus. The board members have been working with administrators to organize a residence hall for transgender and gender nonconforming students. Community coordinator Gabby Boles ’26 states, “Especially at somewhere like Scripps, as a historically women’s college, having a positive place attached to queer identity is important.”

Boles and du Manoir both acknowledge the difficulties involved in restarting a club. Especially with the unique challenge of rebuilding a preexisting organization with institutional memory and history, both students didn’t quite know where to begin, even with records dating back to the ’80s. “Being able to build a community space essentially from the ground up has really allowed me to become better at leadership,” du Manoir says.

Boles echoes this, saying, “Serving as events coordinator last year gave me that jumping off point for learning how to plan events. It’s what led me to my current job as someone who plans events for SCORE.”

Now that Family is in its second year of postpandemic revival, Family is focused on putting more effort into intersectional advocacy and expanding collaborations with other groups and offices. Du Manoir explains, “We have a direct relationship with SCORE, so we are committed to providing a space for queer POC. And because Scripps is predominantly white, it’s important to acknowledge intersecting identities.”

The group is also working to act more officially as a liaison to the QRC. While Family has not yet been able to collaborate with LGBTQ+ affinity groups at the other Claremont Colleges, du Manoir and Boles both hope to increase collaborations in the upcoming year.

“Our space is really for our students,” they say. “We want to provide a community space for queer and trans students at Scripps to really do what they want with the space.”