BQSA and SWAG Celebrate “OUTober” with List of Acceptance-Driven Events – The Bowdoin Orient

As the leaves change and the air cools, another fall tradition returns to campus: “OUTouber”. The month-long celebration, hosted by the Bowdoin Queer Straight Alliance (BQSA) and the Sexuality, Women and Gender Center (SWAG), consists of a series of events throughout October in honor of the National Coming Out Day and LGBTQIA + acceptance.

A Loaded List of Programs strives to welcome all students, regardless of identity, and to promote activism and awareness of LGBTQIA + issues.

“One of the roles of the BQSA is simply to be here as a space for students who identify as queer and who identify as allies to come together and engage in political activism and advocacy. ‘activism in general,’ said BQSA President Lily Tedford ’22. “For the first time, we have focused on the ally aspect of the club and really put the emphasis on our ally goals.”

Associate Dean of Inclusion and Diversity Students and Director of the Center for Sexuality, Women and Gender, Kate Stern, stressed that OUTober is less about whether an individual is out or not and more about presenting the supportive community on campus.

“[It is] welcome to Bowdoin. [This] is a place you can go out if you want to go out. You don’t have to be. There is no pressure, but [it shows students] different ways to engage, and you have some autonomy to determine how that works for you, ”Stern said.

Although the BQSA and SWAG often plan events together, the student-run club and center sometimes have different goals.

“We do things with different goals on campus. [The BQSA] could plan a college party in a way SWAG wouldn’t, ”Stern said. “Some things we do together can be more educational or fun. “

Last Thursday, the BQSA helped SWAG organize a screening and virtual panel discussion of “Changing the Game,” a documentary about three transgender high school athletes. The two organizations have also booked Curbside Queens, a traveling drag show, to perform on Osher Quad this past Friday. However, the College’s COVID-19 status forced them to make some minor adjustments.

“We were going to have some kind of welcome party after Curbside Queens, but we were in yellow status then, so that couldn’t happen,” Tedford said.

Although some programs have been changed due to the changing COVID-19 status of the College, other events may have unfolded as in previous years.

“We started the month by tracing a small part of the quad in chalk. We chalked up and wrote some affirmation notes and positive messages, ”Tedford said. “A few people stopped and said it was a really nice thing to see on the way to class, and a lot of people wrote their own messages. The faculty has been there. Students were passing. It was a happy and fun time.

The BQSA is currently planning its next big event, a screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, which will take place at the end of the month. Together with the BQSA, SWAG is also planning to host a Cupcakes and Coming Out Stories event where students, faculty and staff can share their stories.

“It will be a great community connection to bring OUTober together and close the month,” Stern said.

Stern believes the benefit of having OUTober at the start of the school year is that it can introduce LGBTQIA + students and allies to the resources and safe spaces that Bowdoin has to offer.

“Even if you are a student who has not gone out or is not ready to be, know that there is a place where you are ready, if you are ready, to connect with a community”, Stern said.

Tedford added that OUTober’s impact can extend far beyond college.

“[It’s about] see that we can also do something in the real world, ”Tedford said. “Whether it’s just learning more or calling your lawmakers when there are anti-trans athlete bills in high school, we’re not limited to the Bowdoin campus. “

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