An advice column about sexuality, gender, dating and overall queerness
By Mollie Whuppie /// Staff Writer
I missed Queer Town Hall! What was discussed?
We are sorry you couldn’t make it. There are detailed notes available from each group through the Queer Resource Center. There were roughly 50 people in attendance, so we broke up into four smaller groups to talk about issues, community and what it’s like to be queer at Lewis & Clark. Here are some of the major topics that were brought up in every group.
The Word “Queer”
Many groups shared their feelings about using the word queer, especially in the context of Queer Town Hall. Some people were uncomfortable with it and found it isolating and reminiscent of ridicule and marginalization. Others found power in reclaiming the word as an inclusive term to describe many different groups of people without specifically labeling. The QRC used the word queer to include many different genders and sexualities, and included a non-exclusive list of genders and sexualities on the Facebook event page.
Community on Campus
Groups went in different directions with this topic, but brought forward insightful comments and observations. Many people felt like the queer community at LC is disjointed, fragmented and potentially intimidating. Others expressed feelings of safety and belonging, but acknowledged some flaws. For instance: biphobia (the mistrust or prejudice against people who identify as bisexual), femme erasure (the invisibility of feminine queer people who are thought to be heterosexual because they are traditionally feminine), and assumed heterosexuality pose challenges to students, both new and returning. Despite these shortcomings, many expressed joy over the number of people in attendance, and the excitement in the room over the prospect of a strengthened community.
Issues with Staff and Faculty
Numerous individuals (both past and present students) in different groups, recalled experiences with microaggressions with professors. These issues ranged from transmisogyny to sexism, but were all serious in nature and are taken seriously by the QRC. The topic of gender neutral bathrooms arose, and some people expressed discomfort at the idea of othering or otherwise outing people who use the gender neutral restrooms.
The QRC and many others were pleased to see such a great turnout from groups representing multiple perspectives. A number of great ideas for community building were expressed, including ice cream socials, volunteering retreats, more discussion groups (inQueeries) and dances. Other people suggested that resources such as QRC and United Genders & Sexualities office hours and emails, as well as a map of gender neutral bathrooms, be distributed during New Student Orientation.
We had a wonderful event and I look forward to future involvement with the queer community.