LGBTQ+ Resource Center and LLC kick off LGBTQ+ history month with a trip downtown
BY ARI MASTERS STAFF WRITER
On Sunday, Oct 3, Mason students took a trip downtown to tour D.C. LGBTQ+ services, led by the LGBTQ+ Resources Center and the LGBTQ+ Living Learning Community (LLC). Students rode the D.C. Metro into the city to explore the resources the city has to offer for LGBTQ+ individuals.
Although the trip did not quite go as planned — the main event, The Whitman-Walker Healthcare Center, was closed — students were still able to locate resources, tour an LGBTQ+ art gallery and enjoy sandwiches provided by the LGBTQ+ LLC.
Inside The Corner at Whitman-Walker, the LGBTQ+ art gallery, a guide introduced the group to several art pieces from LGBTQ+ artists around the world, all part of an exhibit called “The Mental Body.” Students viewed pieces of a range of modalities — including drawings, sculpture, photography and video art — which explored the ways in which the mind and body are connected.
Staff at the gallery provided the students with pamphlets full of information about the services the health center provides and access to a community room, where students were invited to create their own art with colored pencils and clay.
Though many students expressed frustration at not being able to tour the healthcare center, freshman Creative Writing major Darby, who asked to be identified by first name only, said that the most rewarding part of the trip for him was “seeing queer people in Washington D.C. living their lives out and proud.”
“I saw many queer people out with their partners or walking with friends as we walked around the city, some wearing pride clothing or being affectionate towards their partners in public, and it was truly an emotional experience to be able to see so much open and honest pride,” Darby continued.
While not making any promises, Lulu Geza Keleman, the assistant director of the LGBTQ+ Resources Center, says that students may have something to look forward to later on in the year.
“I think [that Mason LGBTQ+ Resources and Whitman-Walker] will be good partners. We’re just getting started,” Keleman said.
The LGBTQ+ LLC was formed in 2018, but had to stop activities during the COVID-19 lockdown. Nevertheless, the community has an impressive roster of past trips under its belt, including movie nights to see LGBTQ+-themed films and a trip downtown to tour the Newseum’s Stonewall exhibit in 2019.
Post-pandemic, the resource center’s SUB I office is back and better than ever with an overflowing trans clothing closet, a selection of LGBTQ+ reference books for loan and rainbow flags on every surface imaginable.
Keleman said that students who haven’t been in the center since the start of the pandemic should come by and check out what’s new, noting, “The center looks very different than it did two years ago.”
October is LGBTQ+ History Month and the center has a calendar packed with events to celebrate. Highlights include Identity Nights, a series of community spaces for LGBTQ+ students with intersectional identities, held every Tuesday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the center.