Center celebrates 30 years of activism

Stacy Jo

In an attempt to bring together the diverse facets of the University queer community, the Queer Student Cultural Center held an open house and community forum Wednesday to celebrate 30 years of queer activism on campus.
Organized in 1969, the University’s first queer activist group, called Freedom from Repression of Erotic Expression, constituted one of the first gay and lesbian organizations in the nation. After morphing into various groups over the years, the campus queer community evolved into its current status, said Kjersten Reich, the center’s co-chairwoman.
Because the center aims to accommodate individuals from each faction of the queer community — gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders — one of the center’s primary objectives this year is to blur the lines between these groups and encompass the community as a whole.
“The big goal for this year is to get a queer community, not a bisexual group, a gay group and a lesbian group,” said Sarah Coleman, coordinator of the Straight Friends and Allies organization.
Brandon Lacy Campos, co-chairman for the queer center, said the importance of formerly critical issues is waning. Today, the center can concentrate on campus and social issues because its existence is more secure.
“Our agenda this year is not to fight for our survival,” Lacy said.
The forum addressed the campus queer community’s needs for the center, including further involvement with transgender students and queer students of color.
Forum participants expressed interest in expanding the University’s queer curriculum and augmenting the number and quality of social activities in order to introduce more students to the center’s role within the community.
The center invited Rep. Karen Clark, an openly lesbian member of the state Legislature, to add a community perspective to the forum, but she was unable to attend.