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LGBTQ groups across Northwestern campuses form coalition

Madeleine Fernando, Reporter

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Five LGBTQ groups joined to launch the NU Queer Coalition to create more opportunities and coordination across communities between the Evanston and Chicago campuses.

The groups in the coalition represent students from different undergraduate and graduate schools at Northwestern, including The Queer Pride Graduate Student Association, Pride @ Kellogg, Rainbow Alliance, Queers & Allies and OUTLaw.

Although the five groups do not exhaust all of the LGBTQ resources at NU, they represent the start to further collaboration among LGBTQ groups at NU, said David Miller, advocacy chair of Queer Pride Graduate Student Association.

Miller told The Daily that the idea of creating a coalition started with the recognition that there is a great breadth and diversity of LGBTQ-related programs, events and groups at NU.

“As a graduate student, there is a lot that I don’t know about what the undergrads are doing,” said Miller, a P.h.D. candidate in psychology. “It’s bringing together these different LGBTQ groups on campus and builds just some greater solidarity there.”

Although members of the five groups have always communicated with each other, creating the coalition is the first concrete step toward formal collaboration in event planning and sharing resources and ideas, said Chas Cassidy, academic chair of Queer Pride Graduate Student Association.

“It makes sense to have the queer groups on campus working together,” Cassidy said. “It’s a concerted effort to make this happen … but it’s that first practical administrative step.”

More than 65 people attended NU Queer Coalition’s inaugural event on Wednesday, which featured panelists from different fields who spoke about the Trump administration’s impact on LGBTQ issues in their respective areas of study, said Miller, who was one of the event’s co-organizers.

The event was hosted by the Queer Pride Graduate Student Association and was the first in a series the NU Queer Coalition started.

The NU Queer Coalition hopes to host an event every month that is relevant to the greater NU queer community, Miller said. Each month, it will rotate which group takes organizing responsibility for that month’s main event, Miller said. The next event is a professional drag show hosted by NU’s undergraduate LGBTQ community, Rainbow Alliance, on March 11.

In addition to event programming, the new coalition also hopes to create a cross-group mentoring program, which could allow undergraduates interested in certain careers to have a mentor in the LGBTQ community, Miller said.

“It’ll build a stronger LGBTQ community at Northwestern in general,” said Car Jansen, president of Rainbow Alliance. “Since we’re already hosting events that the different campus groups and communities are interested in, it just made sense to do it together and build that networking as well.”

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Twitter: @madeleinemelody

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