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SMU Daily Campus


SMU Holds First-Ever Queer State of the University Address

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The first-ever Queer State of the University Address took place Friday, Feb. 11. SMU Queer Senator Bri Tollie organized the event to increase unity for the LGBTQ+ community across campus.

“This is also just going to turn into an event where all of us will be doing something like this monthly amongst ourselves, and will be something that we’ll put on every year to share with other LGBTQ+ students,” Tollie said. “It was ultimately important just bringing everyone together.”

LGBTQ+ affirming organizations from all across campus joined and discussed their progress and challenges on campus.

Bethany Bass, Senate Diversity and Inclusion Chair, Strategic Director of the SMU Human Rights Council and researcher on the SMU Pride Project, spoke about efforts to implement a Gender Neutral Homecoming as well as the upcoming Human Rights Arts Festival on February 18th. Representatives from Voices of SMU spoke about including LGBTQ+ history in their archives, and SMU UKirk spoke about their mission to work towards a permanent space on campus.

“Ukirk is the only open and affirming Christian campus ministry at SMU. The Queer State of the University is a super important event for highlighting and celebrating all of the many amazing things that our LGBTQIA+ community brings to this campus and has always been a creative force in this culture,” said Reverend Jessie Light Wells, campus minister for Ukirk at SMU. “We believe at UKirk, that God created each one of us in God’s image and that God loves and claims each one of us. It’s an honor to be here to celebrate so many amazing students this evening.”

Event director for SMU Pride Visibility Day Liana Forss also announced SMU Pride Visibility Day on April 29 as an event to celebrate the LGBTQ community at SMU.

“I’m just really thankful to see in a large scale event on this university to talk about all the queer things that are happening at the school,” Forss said. “What we’ve seen in our interviews is that queer students struggled to have a sense of belonging on campus, and the purpose of the event and the purpose of the project is to ensure that queer students feel like they belong and have a history of people who have been working on a trajectory of queer beauty and queer joy.”

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