Rutgers hosts LGBTQA Fall Reception


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Photo by Yangeng Lin |

Students enjoy food and performances at the “LGBTQA Fall Reception” held last night in the multipurpose room of the College Avenue Student Center.


Alex Newell, who plays Wade “Unique” Adams on the TV program “Glee,” spoke at last night’s “LGBTQA Fall Reception.” The actor explored his struggle to fit in and accept his sexuality. 

Rutgers celebrated the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community and its allies at the reception, which welcomed new and returning members of the University’s LGBTQ association at the College Avenue Student Center.

The purpose of the reception is to not only get other students involved, but also to help students find where they belong on campus.

“It’s important to find a place where you fit in and feel like family,” Newell said.

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Fortunately, Rutgers has many programs students can get involved with to find their place.

Trans*missions is a student group at the University for transgender, queer and gender variant individuals and their allies. 

Natasha Payano, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, is the primary officer of the organization. She started the organization last year with her transsexual boyfriend. 

“We have a really good population of students who are actually very interested,” she said. “We welcome anyone really. People who are trans or aren’t really sure about their identity.”

Trans*missions also focuses heavily on the health aspects of being a transgender individual. Last year, the group held a panel that answered questions pertaining to the therapy and health of those who are going through the transgender process. 

Kelly Ruffenach, a School of Engineering sophomore, is a member and representative of the organization Out in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics. As an organization, oSTEM works to educate and identify with students who are a part of the LGBTQ community, specifically those interested in the STEM fields. 

The organization connects to students through mentorship connections, networking communities, strategic collaborations and leadership development. 

“We really want to connect with and open up to all different types of students so they feel as though they have a place where they belong,” Ruffenach said. “We don’t just get science majors. We even had a music major join this year.”

Perhaps one of the most concentrated and specific organization is the Queer & Asian organization and LLEGO, the LGBTQ organization for people of color. Both organizations appreciate and celebrate individuals who not only belong to the LGBTQ community, but also the black and Asian community.

Linsey Goon and Vingie Magdael are representatives for the Queer & Asian organization. 

“I joined my freshman year, so I was pretty lucky,” said Goon, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. “I have had a support group and family since I have been going to college from the start.”

Magdael, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, joined the Queer & Asian organization this year.

“I wish I knew about this organization when I was a first year,” he said, “It is so comforting to know that I belong somewhere.”

Dani Mardini, a School of Engineering junior, is not only the co-president of the Queer Student Alliance, but also a part of the Delta Lambda Phi, the fraternity for gay, bisexual and progressive men. 

“Aside from my actual blood, these guys are my family,” Mardini said. “I honestly don’t know what I would do without them.”

Delta Lambda Phi is involved with The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ ages 13 to 24. 

“I cannot speak for anyone’s injustice that they feel on campus,” he said. “I am a gay, white male, and my struggles are completely different from those of a transgendered, black woman. I can only say that QSA and Delta Lambda Phi [are] accepting communities for anyone who feels they want to belong.”


Jillian Pastor

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