SBP Hot Topics: LGBTQ+ Discussion Groups

 Photo by Alys Dickerson

Photo by Alys Dickerson

Whilst the Student Body Presidential election is drawing to an end, questions have been raised throughout about the LGBTQ+ Discussion Group becoming an official student organization, the administration’s interactions with the group, and their voice at The King’s College.

“I don’t think either side wants us to be a student organization, not an official student org anyway. If we were a student org, we couldn’t really be a confidential space,” said Hannah Kate McClendon, leader of the group. “The main desire is for us to have a little bit of funding.”

The LGBTQ+ Discussion Group was originally started by Varut Chee and Ali Zieminski, two alums who wanted a gay-straight alliance back in 2014. Since then, the group has developed into “a place people can come whether they’re out or questioning.”

“It exists as a safe space to talk,” McClendon said.

Each week the group meets for one hour, midday, at an apartment in student housing. There are set topics each week, ranging from drag culture to dating as a gay college student in the city.

“The important part in all of this is mutual respect.”

To clarify, administration has not stopped the LGBTQ+ Discussion Group from meeting on campus. Previously, the group met in Eric Bennet's office, the Vice President of Student Development. Since then, the group has grown to upwards of fifteen attendees, which is why they have changed locations.

“There are people in there that are Christians and Atheists. Some even believe that being gay is wrong. But they all struggle with it,” McClendon said, adding that she appreciates that. Though each member shares “one thing in common,” he or she approaches it in different ways.

Mcclendon is not completely opposed of creating another group in the distant future that would deal more with being a Christian and being gay. If she decides to form this group, she wants to explore faith and sexuality, answering questions like, “I am gay and a Christian, so how can I live in community?”

“There is tension created by distance,” she said.

McClendon added that it has gotten better over the years. She knows that it’s hard from the administration’s side and she doesn’t want to overstep the theology of the Christian school she chose to attend.

“The important part in all of this is mutual respect.”