By: TORI WILSON
The LGBTQ community at IU South Bend has grown over the last few years and IU South Bend has been working to promote a safe, open environment for students to express themselves.
The Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) at IU South Bend is a student organization in which LGBTQ+ individuals and allies find a safe space to socialize, network, and learn.
Treasurer of the QSA, Aiesha Wright, opens up about her experiences with the QSA and LGBTQ community on campus.
“Thanks to the QSA, I’ve had a chance to meet with many different types of people who are all interested in learning about the sexuality spectrum, with so many questions, stories, and thoughts” says Wright.
She has also been allowed to learn about other people’s perspectives when dealing with gender and sexuality. QSA creates many public events for everyone, whether they’re part of the LGBTQ community or not. At one of the QSA’s most recent event, the club teamed up with the LGBTQ Center to host a drag show on campus.
These events allow others to learn more about the community and creates a more understanding environment, according to Wright. Members and attendees can ask questions and listen to other people’s stories to help them better understand the spectrum.
To help others better understand the community, Micha Spiece and Justin Flagel are helping to lead training for the Campus Ally Network (CAN) this semester.
Spiece gave intel on what the Campus Ally Network is and what it does. He states, “the Campus Ally Network (CAN) is a group of faculty, staff, and students at IUSB who can visibly support and affirm other faculty, staff, students, and alumni regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Spiece has also said that they work to raise awareness and foster safe spaces on campus where people, especially those in the LGBTQ community, can instantly recognize that they’ll be treated fairly, justly, and compassionately.
According to Spiece, “the training workshop helps trainees learn proper terminology and etiquette, campus and local resources and policies, and opportunities for active participation.”
He also stated that the workshop is helpful for anyone who wants to be an ally to LGBTQ individuals or anyone who identifies as a part of the community since many of those individuals seek to be more supportive and visible on campus.
“Once the training is complete, the new allies will be listed on their website. They’ll be given a placard and/or a button to help raise visibility and identity as an ally,” explains Spiece.
To learn more about CAN, visit https://academics.iusb.edu/ally-network/index.html. To learn more about the QSA, visit their Titan Atlas page, or their Facebook page, @iusbqsa.