By: KATE LUCE
An opportunity to ask questions and show support to the LGBTQ+ community is coming once again to campus. Meghan Buell will be the second speaker of the Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) speaker series on local LGBTQ+ professionals.
Buell is the founder of TREES, Inc. (Transgender Resource, Education And Enrichment Services), which provides transgender education for rural areas. The mission statement of TREES, Inc. is to help reduce the risks of being transgender and living in a rural area.
TREES, Inc. has been a local not-for-profit since 2012 and has been actively involved with many local outreach events.
“TREES Inc. is not necessarily a program where every student will directly use the services, but it is beneficial to educate yourself about the issues that trans individuals face and the options that they have, including restrictions and challenges that they may face. Whether you are trans, questioning, gay, straight, cis, etc. I think it is still important to have compassion and be as educated about minority groups as possible in order to be a better ally – and that is also part of what this speaker series is about,” said Katelyn Firestein, QSA president.
Firestein is seeking to provide QSA members with meaningful experiences and be a part of the community, which is why she decided to start the speaker series. When she brought the idea to the club’s faculty advisor, April Lidinsky, Lidinsky and Firestein started networking within the LGBTQ+ community and received positive replies.
QSA’s first speaker event with Rob DeCleene was successful for the club. Firestein is expecting informative and engaged conversations with Buell’s talk.
“Everyone was engaged and interested in learning more about Rob DeCleene and the work that he has done at Visit South Bend Mishawaka, as well as his personal experiences and brainstorming ways in which we can improve our local community. Our members felt important and like they had a voice, which for marginalized individuals such as members of the LGBTQ+ community is sometimes unlikely. With our future speaker series, I am hoping for the same enthusiasm and interactivity. I am really looking forward to what Meghan Buell can contribute to our discussions and our current knowledge on trans resources,” Firestein said.
Much like QSA, this event is for anyone who cares about issues for marginalized people, not just for those who identify with the LGBTQ+ community.
The QSA is hosting this lecture series in the Student Activities Center room 225 on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m.