Why College LGBTQ+ Societies are Important: A Shitpost
((Sidenote: I’m heavily involved in my college’s society, so call me biased if you want, I don’t really care))
So I am currently about to enter my second year in college, and I am also heavily involved with my colleges LGBTQ+ society. When I tell queer people this, I get a mixture of opinions and statements about how “they’re irrelevant” or “they’re not for me”. Or even my personal favourite, “Oh, you’re one of THOSE gays”. And it’s gotten me thinking as to why people view these societies like this and why I believe that they’re wrong for viewing societies like that.
Firstly, they do a very good job at protecting your community on a college level. As a group, your college LGBTQ+ society are often indirectly involved in how queer life is on campus. They often run initiatives that tackle issues like homophobia and transphobia, being a good ally and issues regarding race, gender, etc. are often brought to the forefront. Also, they get heavily involved in national movements. I know for a fact that here in Ireland, without the help that 3rd level institutions and LGBTQ+ societies gave, the marriage equality referendum would have been a lot closer, or we could have possibly lost it.
Even today, LGBTQ+ societies are doing their best to extend rights to all students. For example, my college has just recently introduced gender-neutral bathrooms, after two years of close work between our Student Union and society. We raise funds for HIV charities, we are working on tackling the blood ban, we are doing important work which benefits the lives of all students, members of the community as well as allies. Further afield, this year we have been heading to Northern Ireland to help protest for marriage equality all over the Ireland.
However, it’s not just politics. You find people that you become friends with, that you will work with, go on nights out with possibly even date. It’s an excuse for you to meet people, both in the community and allies, while having a laugh. And it’s not all just sitting in a room talking about Drag Race, if that’s not your thing. I’ve discussed everything from sport, politics, music, film, the list goes on. It’s a diverse group of people and you’re bound to find someone with similar interests.
This is why it frustrates me when people view members of their LGBTQ+ societies as just a group of people who sit in a room just screaming “YAAAAS” at each other until the cows come home. That’s not me. I love GAA. I won an award in school for Construction Studies. I am involved in other college societies. But regardless of this, I still make time to get involved with my LGBTQ+ society because they have educated me and made me a better overall person. And I found a family in a new city because of it.
So if you are either in 3rd level or are about to enter, I beg you that you actually check out your college’s LGBTQ+ society and join them. You don’t even have to go to events if you don’t want to, but give them your support. Who knows, you might even make friends or learn something!