By Grace Dille
The LGBT Equity Center hosted its annual Quelcome event in Stamp’s Colony Ballroom on Thursday, where members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community gathered to welcome new students and launch a new #TransTerps campaign.
The campaign will focus on improving the climate for transgender people on the university’s campus through “social media outreach, visibility, resources, training, events,” and other educational practices, according to LGBT Equity Center Director Nic Sakurai.
Jennifer Attanasio, a freshman journalism major and a volunteer for the LGBT Equity Center, said the transgender community is something many of the diversity and inclusion-related campaigns will focus on this year.
During Quelcome, the LGBT Equity Center handed out buttons containing preferred gender pronouns and various statements in support of the community.
“The [center] is going to really start making people aware of the different [gender] pronouns and other ways to make transgender people feel included on campus,” Attanasio said.
In addition to launching the campaign, the event gave students the opportunity to mingle with one another and delve into the wide range of resources the campus offers for the LGBTQ+ community, from the Counseling Center’s LGBTQIA Support Group and Rainbow Walk-In Hour, to preferred name and campus housing accommodations.
Despite the many supportive resources this university has to offer, some people feel like they are not advertised very effectively.
“The resources are there … but I felt like I had to hunt them all down to find where [they] were,” said sophomore materials science and engineering major Eli Levine, who goes by Elsie.
Fiona Caretto, a senior majoring in psychology and minoring in LGBT studies, feels similarly, adding that she wishes the university would more openly discuss the programs offered on campus.
“I only ever hear about the LGBT resources and events in my LGBT classes, and never in any other class. I recognize [everyone at Quelcome] from my LGBT classes,” Caretto said. “But outside of that, we need to tell other departments to advertise for it, or just put more signs around campus.”
Regardless, Sakurai emphasized the importance of this event in terms of its lended support and educational value.
“We’re starting off our year at a time when many of us are confronting racism, white supremacy, anti-blackness, misogyny, islamophobia, anti-semitism, anti-immigrant sentiments and policies that continue to harm vulnerable populations — including many within our LGBTQ+ populations,” Sakurai said. “We must resist oppression and discrimination, but we must also do more. It’s not just about stopping something bad, it’s also about creating something good — together.”