The LGBTQ Resource Center hosted their annual Fall Fling Aug. 29 to promote acceptance towards students that identify as LGBTQ or as an ally to the LGBTQ community. This event included games, food and crafts while also providing a sense of community for its attendants.
The event kicked off at 6 p.m. in the Stotler Lounge of Memorial Student Union. There was an arch of rainbow balloons through the doors welcoming students and a table full of miniature LGBTQ flags and buttons for attendees to wear with pride. On each of the tables that lined the room, there were activities and crafts for people to involve themselves in.
“Events like this are really fun”, Molly Hart, Student Coordinator for the LGBTQ Resource Center, said. “I like creating events and spaces like these that wouldn’t happen otherwise, so this is so fun and very full of life.”
The Fall Fling was also a way for students to get to know other people involved in the LGBTQ community while surrounded by a safe environment with no fear of judgement.
“I think it’s really important that, when people become comfortable with or decide to share their identities, we are here,” Michael Lakner, Vice President of the Triangle Coalition, said. “Not just for fun events like this, but for the less fun event where it really matters and you need that strength, so we can really make sure we are representing our student body as well as we can.”
According to their website, the Triangle Coalition is the oldest organization involved with the LGBTQ Resource Center that focuses on building a safe community for LGBTQ students as well as meeting new people and having fun. They were one of several organizations that aided in putting together the Fall Fling and had members interacting with students and making sure attendants were comfortable and having fun.
“I think what I get out of the resource center is definitely safety, community and visibility,” Lakner said. “It is really important that students who identify in any of the identities that fall under this umbrella have that physical space to be able to congregate or go if they need assistance and know for sure they will feel welcomed.”
For some of the students who attended the Queer Fall Fling, this was the first time they had been in an environment that accepted their identities and applauded them for being themselves.
“I feel like there is not a place to belong where I am from,” junior Natalie Roberts said. “It is really open here, and I know that in a lot of places, if someone asks you what your pronouns are, it can be terrifying, whereas here it’s normal.”
While the LGBTQ Resource Center focuses on helping those who identify as LGBTQ, their events are also open to those who support the community as well.
“I think that it is really important that allies of the community are present for those events that are supportive of allies,” Lakner said. “Of course, there are always events that are exclusive to certain identities so there can be private and confidential discussions that relate to those identities, but there are always tons of really good events for allies to learn more about our community.”
Edited by Caitlyn Rosen | firstname.lastname@example.org