It’s Monday night in the Pride Resource Center, and like every other day of the week the room is packed.
From a circle of couches, chairs and beanbags over a dozen people share their days, how they felt on campus and difficulties they’ve faced in talking about their identities.
Queer Conversations at the PRC is a space of trust–of friendly faces and common interests. Attendees laugh, react, and most of all, listen. V Bellinger, Junior Ethnic Studies major and Inclusive Community Assistant for the PRC, facilitates the dialogue.
“Conversations like the one we just had are more so just like in the moment, getting it all out, talking about it, and connecting in whatever way we can,” Bellinger said.
While each gathering begins with a scheduled topic, the conversation can bounce around to other interests and issues pertinent to what attendees have experienced.
“Every week there’s basically like a different issue that pops up within the queer community that we’ll discuss,” Bellinger said. “Sometimes queer conversation is just to bring light to an identity that even within our community is not talked about very much.”
Queer Conversations hosts a more generalized discussion, in contrast to other groups like COLORS, for queer people of color, Queen, for queer women, and another for STEM majors. All such events share a common purpose.
“Most of our talking events such as this are really just like processing and sharing out the best ways to do things in a world that is not all accepting,” Bellinger said.
One service provided by the PRC facilitates coming out to friends and family, another topic of discussion at Queer Conversations. Advice that works for one may not work for someone else. Bellinger emphasized the many ways the PRC can help.
“These are all the things that will provide cushion for you if everything is ripped out from under your feet,” Bellinger said.
“When it comes to coming out to different people and supporting each other, resources are the best things we can give,” Bellinger said. “Here are the resources you can go to to get food, here are the resources if they kick you out of your house… this is who you can talk to for counseling and therapy who is LGBT friendly.”
While Queer Conversations is a place to ask questions, it is not a Q&A hour. As was commonly said during Monday’s talk, no one is obligated to assume the role of an educator.
“The expectation is that you’re not like grilling the people who identify within that community,” Bellinger said. “It would suck to have a grouping like this and then have one person continually being like ‘what-is-this, what-is-this, what-is-this?”
Coming up, there will be a screening of the movie “Pariah” Tuesday at 6:00 pm in the Lory Student Center Theater, snacks provided. It is the coming of age story of a teenage black lesbian surviving in a hostile environment and accepting herself.
In line with Monday’s talk, there will be a panel on LGBTQ+ workplaces Thursday in LSC room 374 at 5:30 p.m. The Northern Colorado AIDS Project and Northern Colorado Equality will be present to answer questions about working in LGBT organizations.
Collegian Reporter Matthew Smith can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @latvatalo.