At the same time, I was also attending a few queer student group meetings this week. The reasons for this are many.
- I am interested in how other student groups run. I've only ever really participated in BASS, and BASS is not exactly the model of organization.
- I want to actually join at least one group. I've decided that joining a student group can be one of the greatest joys in life.
- I am very interested in queer issues, and am very much in favor of queer rights. Why shouldn't I participate in groups which reflect this?
- I'm asexual, so in a sense I'm a little queer myself. Or does that make me an ally? Whatever.
Anyways, there are a dozen undergraduate LGBT groups at UCLA. Most of those are part of the Queer Alliance, which is a coalition of seven different groups. I attended the main Queer Alliance meeting, a Fluid meeting (focusing on bisexuals and pansexuals), and an SCME meeting (Student Coalition for Marriage Equality). Here are my observations:
- Ironically, first meetings are not the best way to select groups. Most of the first meeting is taken up by introductions, ice breakers, and announcements. I guess I'll be doing the same thing next week.
- At least in SCME (which is the most politically oriented), there were actually several people I knew from BASS there. Hooray for secular support for marriage equality!
- I was sort of worried that during introductions and ice breakers, they'd ask us to state our sexual/gender identity. If they asked me whether I'm queer or an ally, I wouldn't know how to respond! Luckily, they all know better than to do this, at least on the first meeting.
- No, I did not out myself. Perhaps simply for lack of opportunity. I'm also afraid that either I would not have sufficient time to explain it, or I would completely derail any previous discussion. But I want to be out. Let me tell you, three years ago, when I first considered myself atheist, I was a real closet case. It was completely irrational of me. I want that to never happen again.
- There are some interesting gender disparities going on in some of these groups. The vast majority of the bisexual/fluid group was made of women. Supposedly, most of the SCME members are either gay men or straight women. I do not know enough LGBT history to have any idea why this is. Anyways, being in the gender minority turns out to be a little disconcerting, even when I know that the group isn't doing anything wrong!
- The bisexual/fluid group played a game called definition darts. It involved a dart board with a bunch of LGBT-related words. This dart board made me extremely happy! Why? One of the words was "asexual". Another was "LGBTQQIAA" (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally). I know that the extra A is only further encumbering an already cumbersome acronym, but it still made my week.