LGBTQ students reveal their source of acceptance

LGBTQ students reveal their source of acceptance

The KSU LGBTQ Resource Center hosted the Queer and Transgender People of Color Community Group meeting on Thursday, Sept. 26, for students to meet individuals from their community.

The QTPOC Community Group served as a place for students to express their successes and struggles in life both at KSU and outside of school.

Some students struggle academically, while others must sift through cultural or social issues. Complicated relationships with loved ones and alienation from society were also issues discussed in meetings.

The QTPOC Community Group is a platform where finding solutions to these dilemmas are sought after and supported. A constant theme is finding acceptance — regardless of age, race, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Focus groups that intertwine the issues of LGBT people of color are featured at the center, as well as those focused specifically on the complexities of being a woman or man and being part of the community.

Some of the most popular assemblies are “Gaymer Tuesdays,” for members who enjoy gaming culture and “Reading Rainbows,” for those interested in literature with an LGBTQ theme or without.

Senior illustration major Paola Paniagua is fond of the LGBTQ Resource Center on campus.

“They are very friendly and welcoming,” Paniagua said. “Initially, I worried that there would be gatekeeping, but I was pleasantly surprised at the center. You don’t have to look a particular way, know or say certain things. They are super inclusive.”

Sophomore computer science major Jonathan Dagher agreed, finding the center comforting and welcoming to those who may not fit in at the university.

When asked how someone who is uncomfortable with their identity or feels out of place might join, Dagher said that there are multiple ways to contact the center.

“Look for wrist bands or some other sign that a person might be similar to you,” Dagher said. “Don’t be afraid to reach out, there are a lot of friendly people here. Just take that step. The worst that can happen is that it’s not for you.”

While both Dagher and Paniagua agreed that KSU has done solid work with the integration of the center, there is still room for improvement.

“They have done an alright job of raising our community, but the school should be more careful about what material they approve for posting across campus,” Dagher said. “It could make some people uncomfortable.”

When asked to elaborate, Dagher and Paniagua both mentioned that a particular group on campus had flyers displayed that could be interpreted as transphobic or homophobic.

As the resource center moves into the future, its members are hopeful for improvements and growth. Dagher and Paniagua firmly believe that the LGBTQ community on campus could make substantial improvements if they receive more resources from the school.

“If we are able to host more campus events, then our group will appeal to more people,” Dagher said. “Sometimes we feel confined to the resource center. It is a huge asset, but if we held more public and open events it would help foster an inclusive environment.”

For more on LGBTQ Resource Center events, visit lgbtq.kennesaw.edu.

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