LGBTQ groups host ice cream social

Lillie Eastham

LGBTQ students and allies gathered at Augenstein Alumni Hall on Tuesday night to celebrate their diversity with an ice cream social.

The annual ice cream social serves as a way to introduce LGBTQ students to faculty and peers that can serve as a support system throughout college.

“It’s important for students to be in a place where their identity isn’t being questioned,” Campbellsville senior Jeremy McFarland said.

McFarland is a student coordinator in the Queer Student Union and its Transgender Non-Binary branch. QSU gives students a safe place to connect with other students on campus, and is open to those in the community and allies. The Transgender and Non-Binary group provides education and medical information for students undergoing transition. This group is only open to Transgender or Non-binary people, but those who are questioning their gender are encouraged to attend, as all correspondence is confidential.

Another group on campus is the Queer People of Color for minority LGBTQ students.

“You’re kind of a minority within a minority,” Natalie Ngong, a Gatton senior, said. Although she felt she hadn’t experienced it at WKU, people of color can sometimes feel excluded from the larger LGBTQ movement.

“I feel more comfortable around here,” Nashville freshman Ammarie Furlough said.

When Furlough attempted to start a Gay Straight Alliance at her high school, she said she was pushed as she put up posters, which were often torn down. She said her experience in college so far has been much more accepting.

While President Timothy Caboni was traveling and could not attend the event, the faculty present emphasized his dedication to the LGBTQ community.

“It makes me proud to be at WKU,” Kay Meggers, an instructor in the Department of Management, said.

Meggers, a new faculty member, stressed the importance of not only accepting LGBTQ students but also letting them know that they are an asset to the community.

Adam Murphy, a freshman, has been active in the LGBTQ community for a while and has spoken at pride festivals. He said he feels the atmosphere at WKU rivals that of Louisville’s because of how close the WKU LGBTQ community is.

Student Government Association President Andi Dahmer was also in attendance to emphasize student government’s continuing support of LGBTQ students.

“SGA continues to show advocacy,” Dahmer said.

Dahmer said she believes even further steps can be taken to assist LGBTQ students. She said she hopes to implement more streamlined ways for students to seek out help on WKU’s website and to create Living Learning Community housing especially for LGBTQ students.

LGBTQ students in search of a safe space are encouraged to reach out on the Queer Student Union through Facebook. Trans and Non-binary students can contact the sub-group at [email protected].There are also weekly LGBTQIA meetings at Potter Hall on Mondays at 3 p.m.

Reporter Lillie Eastham can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected].