By: TAYLOR WALDRON
Web Editor/Staff Writer
The QSA (Queer Straight Alliance) is up and running with its new president. IU South Bend junior, Katelyn Firestein, is leading the club with a vibrant spirit.
For those who may wonder what the QSA is and who should be a part of it, Firestein insists that the club is a safe space for all, regardless of identifying as an LGBTQ+ individual.
“It’s a group in which LGBTQ+ individuals and allies can join together to offer each other support, or to become more educated,” said Firestein.
The QSA has been celebrating this October by honoring LGBTQ+ awareness month and will follow with more events in November by celebrating Trans (Transgender) Awareness Month.
“Lately we’ve been doing a lot related to these months and by doing so, we are creating awareness. For example, a few weeks ago, we did ‘coming out stories’ and that was a really successful event. We were able to hear a really wide variety of experiences that people had been through and that was very powerful…just being able to create a dialogue for the challenges and the victories faced by LGBTQ+ individuals,” said Firestein.
Events put on by the QSA are both on and off campus. From time to time, the club will team up with local organizations such as the LGBTQ+ community center, for events.
The QSA exists on IU South Bend’s campus for the benefit of all students. Firestein ensures that the QSA should be seen as a safe space and a place to learn for all students.
“With any minority group it’s important to create a dialogue. Not only can LGBTQ+ individuals help one another, but it can give anyone some new perspective on some of the challenges that other people face in their respective groups”, said Firestein.
“I’ve heard things in the past about some clubs on campus not being inclusive or people being resistant to new members, but one thing that I’ve really pushed for this semester is to always be mindful of everybody’s opinions and to always try to improve what I’m doing as president to make the club as safe space for everyone. Knowing that at least once a week you have an entire group of people who won’t judge you for being yourself is really important,” said Firestein.
Any IU South Bend student is encouraged and welcome to join the QSA. To join, attend a meeting or get in contact with the QSA, do so through their Facebook page @iusbqsa. The QSA meets every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Education and Arts building in room 1101. All meetings and events are posted on Titan Atlas and the group’s Facebook page. Their next meeting will take place on Nov. 7.