Bakersfield College’s SAGA Club held the fourth event of their weekly speaker series My Rainbow Road: Stories of the LGBTQ+ success from our community.

Emily Fisher as they show off a self-made Pride-themed art piece.

Charr Davenport, Reporter

Bakersfield College’s Sexuality and Gender Acceptance (SAGA) Club held the fourth event of their weekly speaker series My Rainbow Road: Stories of the LGBTQ+ success from our community, on Feb. 18. The event was hosted via Zoom by Bakersfield College’s Chair of the Communication Department Helen Acosta and featured guest speaker Emily Fisher, a bisexual and nonbinary geologist local to Bakersfield and the former president of Bakersfield’s Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Center of Bakersfield. Fisher also was the founding chair of Aera Energy’s LGBT+ Allies Employee Resource Group, which helped the company earn three Experience Energy™ GRIT (Growth, Resilience, Innovation, and Transition) Awards in 2019, one of which went to Fisher themselves.

While many topics were discussed during the event, the main topic of Fisher’s speech was bisexuality and its place in the LGBT community. When Fisher joined the Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity Board, they were the first bisexual person to serve. They started the bisexual and pansexual community workshops with the help of Acosta and soon started to create a more inclusive LGBT community center in Bakersfield, eventually even getting the center to change its name to be inclusive of other identities outside of gay and lesbian.

One of the many reasons Fisher started the workshops and fought for the center’s eventual name change was advocacy. “If you can’t find community, it’s hard to advocate,” they said. Fisher had felt that excluding LGBT identities only worked against the LGBT community by separating it instead of creating an open environment where LGBT people could advocate for their rights as well as the rights of others. They also felt that the sense of community was a near necessity for all LGBT people, regardless of identification. “I see people wonder ‘am I queer enough to be in the community?’” Fisher explained. “You are the community.”

Another topic brought up during the event was that of gender identity and Fisher’s discovery of their gender. “People would say ‘women do that’ and I’d say ‘well I don’t do that. Am I not a woman?’ Then I discovered that was an option and I got excited that it was an option.” As Fisher explained their identity labels, they also breached the topic of new labels in the LGBT community. “We weren’t allowed to talk about this [gender and sexuality] for decades. People are finding new labels because we’re allowed to talk about it now.”

William Guillen, a member of the crowd, spoke up in agreement after hearing Fisher’s words. “There are so many different types of rocks,” Guillen said, alluding to Fisher’s job as a geologist. “So why can’t we, as a species, be diverse?”

SAGA Club’s next My Rainbow Road event will be held on Mar. 3 via Zoom at 4:10 p.m. and will feature guest speaker Daniela Walkover.