LGBTQ club is safe space for students
Caitlin O’Halloran – Reporter
LGBTQI+ Prism works as a safe and supportive environment for students to meet, discuss issues regarding the community and educate.
“Pretty much LGBTQIA+ Prism, I usually say, is a social organization on campus that provides a welcoming and open environment for students who identify as being part of the community which also includes allies, which I think is super important,” said club president and psychology major Joaquin Selmeski, a senior.
The organization provides students with a safe environment where they can discuss issues regarding sexual orientation, gender identity and an opportunity to step towards ending homophobia surrounding the community.
Before the pandemic, the club used to hold events including bake sales, trips to the True Colors Conference at UCONN and GLSEN Day of Silence, which is to spread awareness about the outcome of bullying of LGBTQ people.
“So right now, we just finished up our last meeting which was on Tuesday and we did a kind of educational meeting about asexuality because we felt like often times during the club, there was a focus more on gay and trans identities,” said club Secretary theatre major Ren Hoerner, a junior.
The club spends other weeks spending time playing games, watching movies together to help the club members make friends, learning about different identities and educate others on information regarding the community.
“In terms of the significance, I think a lot of the students who don’t necessarily feel like they have a safe space to discuss certain things, the Prism community is that,” said Rachel Furey, club advisor. “They’re really energized, knowledgeable and really open people.”
One big event that the club is hoping to be able to host this semester is their annual Drag Ball where they have drag performers brought to campus. If it can’t be held in-person, they are working a way to make this an online-event for the students.
“Our members really like it because it’s a fun event and a lot of people within the community and allies of the community like to see the drag culture, so we have been kind of planning that out,” said Hoerner.
Within the community, the members all touched on the amount of respect that there is in the club for one another.
“I really have a lot of admiration and respect for the e-board members and the way that they run the meetings and create this sort of community,” said Furey.
One event some of the members are working on for the club is a mixer with other universities that have organizations similar to the LGBTQ+ organization at Southern. This will help students create connections with people outside of the campus community.
“It’s definitely worth all of the planning because our club members are always like ‘Oh my god, this is so fun!’ and can’t wait to come back next year and there are a few members who will return for many meetings and everybody just makes friends that way,” said Hoerner.
Clubs like LGBTQIA+ Prism are essential to have in schools and on campuses because they are student-led and advocate for an improved school climate. They can also educate the larger school community about LGBTQ+ issues and are there to support LGBT students as well as their allies, according to GLSEN, an American education organization.
Selmeski noted the club is always open to new members throughout the semester and can be reached them through Owl Connect or their Instagram, @scsuprism.
Selmeski said,“Part of our whole mission is to really make sure, especially people in the LGBTQI+ community feel like they have a home and some kind of community here at Southern.”
Photo credit: Rome Rositani