Big gay welcome 8/30

The start of the fall semester brings many opportunities for students to have fun and meet new people at BGSU’s Weeks of Welcome. One highly anticipated WOW event was the Big Gay Welcome.

The Big Gay Welcome provides a safe space each year for BGSU students to get involved with the queer community and learn more about resources on campus such as the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Center for Women and Gender Equity and the Center for Violence Prevention and Education. This event welcomed members of the community and its allies to enjoy drag queen and king performances, lip sync and spoken word. Along with the talent, the BGSU Teaching Kitchen provided treats for attendees.

The event is an important part of the accepting space BGSU fosters.

“That was actually a big reason why I chose to come to BG, because I know how accepting the community is and how big the LGBTQ community is within BG,” freshman Trenton Moore said.

As students from all backgrounds come to college, it is important to create and keep safe spaces for students to be themselves while they learn and enter a new stage of life. A supportive community at BGSU allows many students to find others like them and feel safe in being who they are.

“I walked into this room, and this is full of people just here for the community as either allies or a part of itm and it provides a platform in just many people who are willing to be open about themselves here, which is really awesome. It's so heartwarming to know that out of thousands of students there are also thousands of people like me,” freshman Kay Smith said.

While the title of the event centers around the LGBTQ+ community, the Welcome hosts tables and information about campus resources for multiple minority communities.

“I really like that the resources aren’t just for queerness, they're [for] queerness and people of color and how to learn from the experience of others and try to foster empathy and mutual understanding,” graduate student Chloe Calvino said.

Tables set up around the perimeter of the room provided information for women, violence prevention, multicultural affairs, graduate student pride and transgender rights. It is important for the intersectional identities of students to be represented to create a support system at BGSU, as many systems of oppression interlock.

In response to the information presented at the event, sophomore Sammy Leist said, “Honestly, yeah I didn’t know anything that existed here. Now I have different areas I can go to, even if I may have been overwhelmed today over trying to find things.”

In addition to sharing resources, an event centered on queerness opens a door for many students who may have nowhere else to be themselves. It also allows students who feel comfortable in other spaces to continue to feel safe.

“This means that I have a space that's safe for me on campus and that makes it a whole lot easier for me to get well acquainted here,” freshman Katie Crawford said.

As students start or continue to find their place at BGSU, the examples of inclusion highlighted in events such as the Big Gay Welcome add to the safety and wellbeing of students.

“To me this is just a really wonderful thing because it brings the community together and you can see the faces and then you can recognize them when you’re out and about on campus and it makes you feel more like you fit in,” junior Alex Haynes said.

“I think it makes a lot of people feel more comfortable with who they are, as well as knowing that there are resources for them specifically to help them through the circumstances of different events that could occur for them, especially because sometimes that identity changes how other people react to you in those situations,” Haynes added.

All in all, the Big Gay Welcome gives many students a platform and a support system that will help them throughout college. 

“It's actually quite nice to see other people going through the same thing and having us all feel accepted. It's a big thing. That's what this event is truly about,” Moore said.

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