By Bryan K. Alfaro and Liz Cianfarani | THE EASTERN ECHO
Added September 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm
Eastern Michigan University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center held its fourth annual BBQueer event Tuesday from 3:30-5:30 p.m. outside Bob’s Lakehouse on the north side of campus.
LGBT Resource Center Program Coordinator, Mary Larkin, said the BBQueer is the center’s kickoff event for the academic year and showcases some of the programs offered on campus.
“When the weather is as nice as it is today, I just think it’s worth something to look out and see that folks can just gather like this within the LGBT community and allies and just have some fun,” Larkin said.
She said the event has increased in attendance since its beginning, with less than 100 people the first year, more than 200 the second and 410 people attending last year.
“It’s just a way for folks to see, in case they didn’t know, that there’s a lot of folks on campus supporting this work,” Larkin said.
The LGBT Resource Center-funded event included food, music and a raffle, which offered rainbow-colored prizes such as a scarf, T-shirts, an umbrella and a disco ball. The menu for the afternoon included meat or veggie burgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, watermelon, chips, cookies and various beverages.
Also, the new queer studies minor offered by the Women’s and Gender Studies Department was advertised at the event. There are only two core classes: the all-encompassing Introduction to Gender and Sexuality (WGST 202), also offered as a general education class for the U.S. Diversity requirement, and Queer Studies (WGST 305).
EMU Student Body President Desmond Miller was at the BBQ and said he has attended the event for the past three years.
“I just think it’s an amazing event,” Miller said. “It’s one of those events that really shows that the LGBT community can feel comfortable at the university. And it’s not only administrators and faculty that are comfortable with LGBT students, but also fellow students who are comfortable and may not identify as LGBT. I don’t personally, but I think of myself as an ally.”
Miller said for him the event signifies togetherness.
“It’s really to make students feel like there’s nothing wrong with them,” he said. “There’s nothing out of the ordinary with them. Whoever they are attracted to physically, mentally, whatever – it’s their choice. I think this really reaffirms the fact that Eastern is a comfortable and reassuring place for that idea.”
For more information on LGBT peer groups on campus, email Caiden Droscha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October is OUTober month, with several events going on before and during the month. Wayne State professor, author and public speaker John Corvino will speak on Wednesday, Sept. 25 in Student Center Room 310A, presenting The Meaning of (Gay) Marriage. There will be a flag display just before the month starts on Sept. 29 at noon outside of Pray-Harrold. Shortly after, the OUTober Kick-Off will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 1 from 1-2:30 p.m. in Room 352 of the Student Center. To get the extensive list of the events going on in OUTober, check out the LGBT Resource Center.