Initial LGBTQ Action Week works toward safe spaces

ASUS and EQuIP pair up to bring attention to identity issues

ASUS’s Social Justice Committee chose to make the first annual LGBTQ Action Week their primary project this year.

The week’s events, in partnership with EQuIP, focus on creating safe spaces for members of the LGBTQ community at Queen’s and dispelling stereotypes associated with LGBTQ people.

Joe Osborne, co-chair of the ASUS Social Justice Committee, said the committee chose LGBTQ issues as its focus because “often as a community it gets ignored and left behind”.

The week’s events began with a promotional video that dealt with some of the stereotypes often associated with the LGBTQ community. The committee also paired up with Common Ground to promote awareness through sticker advertisements on coffee cups.

An open forum was also held Monday, featuring a panel of openly LGBTQ faculty members to discuss experiences of coming out and the struggles associated with societal acceptance.

“Something that we’re discussing now is that it’s impossible to separate your own sexual or gender identity from other parts of your self-identity,” Osborne said.

He added that LGBTQ communities are trying to include other social identity issues, such as race, culture and ethnicity, in the greater LGBTQ concerns of self-identity.

Another issue discussed in Mondays forum was the lack of community that some of the older professors felt in the past.

Osborne said the LGBTQ community of Kingston at large “suffers from invisibility” because although Kingston is one of the larger cities in Ontario, it lacks an established gay bar.

The committee will be hosting a LGBTQ and allies night at the Underground on Friday to create an opportunity for LGBTQ students to have a safe space to go out, something that Osborne said is “lacking” and “that we wanted to engage with”.

There have been discussions with the Underground, he said, about recurring LGBTQ nights, but further progress with that project would depend on the popularity of Friday’s event.

“There is an obligation to make some sort of safe space for LGBTQ students on campus,” he said.

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