August 18, 2019 | 81° F

LGBTQA Fall Reception showcases community’s progress

Photo by Luo Ye Wong |

The Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities hosted the LGBTQA Fall Reception yesterday at the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus. Organizations like the Queer Student Alliance and Gender Identities showcased their groups to new and continuing students.

The vibrant, social environment at yesterday’s annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer and Ally Fall Reception brought many students and staff members together to kick off the start of the semester while enjoying music and food.

The reception, held in the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus, provided students with the opportunity to explore different organizations, such as The Queer Graduate and Professional Student Association at Rutgers University, Queer Student Alliance and the Gender Identities.

Emma Kay, a Rutgers alumna, said this event showcased the progress the LBGTQA community has made.

“Seeing the progress which our community has made to assist people with issues of gender identities is something to note,” she said. “We’re progressing and starting to become noticed.”

Kay founded the Gender Identities club, which helps LGBTQA students become comfortable and open with their identities.

“Our organization, Gender Identities, basically is for those who identify themselves as trans and need the support and space to discuss things which isn’t provided elsewhere,” she said. “We actually just started our club last spring and have started to grow.”

The Center for Social Justice Education and LGBTQA Communities hosted the reception, and encouraged LGBTQA community leaders to assist new students. Jennifer Harris, a graduate student, said she loved how interactive the event was.

“It caters to students and provides great programming while assisting those who are looking for support,” she said. “I know as the year goes on, I’ll be seeing programs and events just like this one.”

She said services provided by the LGBTQA Liaisons should allow students to be open in discovering who they are.

“So many resources are being provided and students are always welcome so they always take advantage of the opportunities they have,” she said.

The Annual LGBTQA Reception welcomed any student, gay or straight, who showed interest in learning about the LGBTQA community, said Zaneta Rago, assistant director of the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities.

“The annual welcome back is a major correlation between various student organizations that brings together people of all kinds,” she said.

For students like Gabriella Shypula, a School of Arts and Science sophomore, the reception was their first LGBTQA gathering.

“It’s quiet amazing to see so many people here,” she said. “It shows that there is a support system. Even if you feeling like an outsider, there’s always people who have gone through the same.”

Kay said many students enjoy the social aspect of the LGBTQA Fall Reception, which gave students room to mingle and experience being a part of the LGBTQA community.

“Basically, we’re here to be a support system for those who need it and this event is here to show that,” she said. “I would like to say that everyone has the right to be exactly the kind of person they want to be and while nothing is easy you can always try.”

Carmen Vargas, School of Arts and Sciences junior, said the event and its participants were welcoming.

“It’s great to meet new people who share similar interests and understand where you’re coming from and going through,” she said.

By Zainab Khan

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