Queers & Allies: A safe space for LGBTQIA+ and allies

Ayanna Allen, Staff Writer

Queers & Allies, a group on campus, hosted their third meeting Sept. 15 with the hope of bringing members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies together. The meeting featured games and a discussion of their attendance at the upcoming Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Asexual College Conference. 

As stated on their website, Q&A hopes to facilitate the growth of a more diverse and fun environment for NMU’s campus and the Marquette area. The popular group, with at least 50 active members, does this by hosting several events throughout the year and weekly meetings that help develop relationships between members of the community. Meetings are held from 8:30-10 p.m. in Jamrich 1318. To register, join and RSVP on The Hub.

“It is not something that you have to be there every week. Scheduling is hard for a lot of people. Q&A has always been a group where you are welcome no matter when, no matter how irregular your schedule is,” Miranda Miller, president of Q&A said. “Even if you just come to the outside events that are not our meetings … we still love to see everyone come.”

In the past, Q&A has hosted not only their meetings but community events. The most popular of which being their extravagant Drag Show held in Vandament Arena. Alongside this event, the group also takes many members to MBLGTACC, a 3-day LGBTQ+ conference held in Madison, WI. Due to last year’s COVID-19 concerns and restrictions, Q&A was unable to host the annual show and take members to MBLGTACC. However, this year the group anticipates that changing. 

“It [MBLGTACC] is just one of those places where students can really, first of all, be themselves. If you want to be just totally you that is the place to do it as a really safe space. Plus, you learn a lot of stuff there,” Gary Stark, professor of management and Q&A advisor, said. “There are several sessions about all sorts of issues that would be of interest to queer folks.”

The active group boasts many members and active meetings. The Q&A community is known for its welcoming energy and entertaining activities. Miller has hopes that Q&A will be able to host a queer prom this year. Last week, the group enjoyed a bonfire with 45 people in attendance. 

“When I go [to the meeting], it is all good vibes. I do not think I have ever walked into Q&A and felt unwelcome and unhappy to be there,” Miranda Miller, president of Q&A said. “People who do end up coming in with a sad mood or who are upset … it is not a question of should we go talk to them? It’s like, okay, what’s wrong? What can we do to fix this? The vibe in itself is amazing.”

Students a part of the LGBTQ+ community that find themselves in extra need of support can find additional resources on campus. The Student Equity and Engagement Center has many resources available for students of all walks of life. Students can find locations for gender-neutral bathrooms, The NEST, LGBTQ+ friendly churches and doctors and much more.