The Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Students and Their Friends voted unanimously Wednesday to change their name to the Queer Student Cultural Center.
At an open house at the GLBT center in Coffman Memorial Union, about 25 GLBT and other student cultural center members discussed their opinions on the name change.
The group had gone by its previous title since its formation in 1991.
Ana Clerc, the group’s co-chairwoman said the reason for the change is to advertise the group as a cultural organization, whereas the previous title indicated the association was more of a support group.
“We are just as valid a culture as ethnic or religious groups,” Clerc said.
She added that the name change is symbolic of movement toward a stronger position and presence in the student community. She said the new title is more inclusive of people who might not fall into a specific category of sexual orientation.
“We want to strengthen the community by reclaiming the word ‘queer’ and make it all encompassing,” said Paul Halacy, the GLBT representative for the Minnesota Student Association.
Clerc said that using the word ‘queer’ in the title of the organization would alleviate some of the negative connotations associated with the word
However, MSA representative Brandon Lacy pointed out that some people might be uncomfortable with the use of the word “queer.”
“‘Queer’ is a political term,” he said. “People don’t want to be forced to be political when first coming out of the closet.”
But Aimee McIntyre, University Bisexual and Transgender Community Coordinator said she thinks “queer” is appropriate.
“‘Queer’ has a lot of potential. When used correctly it can change perceptions,” McIntyre said. “The purpose is to connect people with similarities.”
“The word ‘queer’ is an umbrella term that includes rather than categorizes,” she said. “It better reflects what all of our group members are.”