By Taliesin Nyala 07F
“The Queer Community Alliance is a group for everyone who falls under the umbrella of ‘queer,’ and it’s a wide-reaching organization that unites subgroups,” says student signer Cyree Johnson 07F.
Started by students years ago, the Queer Community Alliance (QCA) is a group that fosters support and builds community for students.
At Hampshire, student group leaders are referred to as “signers”—they sign the paperwork and manage logistical matters as well as facilitate their groups—and the QCA has four: Johnson, Mike Wolf 07F, Mikayla McAdams 07F, and Mugs Myers 08F.
“Sexuality [at Hampshire] isn’t made into a big deal,” Wolf says. “There’s a joke that people made when I got here that goes: can you describe your sexuality in just one sentence? And the reason is because we’re challenging bigger things, such as the notion of ‘gender,’ so sexuality doesn’t even become an issue.”
There are three subgroups within the QCA that offer additional support to students and that also create programming for the campus around important issues of identity, gender, and sexuality in the form of panel discussions, film screenings, meet ‘n greets, teach-ins, and inviting speakers to the college.
Currently, those subgroups include: the Gender Queer and Transgender Student Alliance (TSA), for students who have a nonconforming gender identify; Aliz (Queer Jews and Allies), for students who are both queer and Jewish; and Queer International and Persons of Color (QIPOC), for students who are both queer and people of color or international students.
In a large community, as the LGBTQ population is at Hampshire, there are occasionally conflicting ideas about issues, says Wolf. The QCA is committed to embracing diverse opinions and being inclusive. “Just because we don’t all agree on the same issue, doesn’t mean we’re not in the same community,” he says.
The QCA holds weekly meetings during which they have discussions and plan upcoming events, such as Queertillian, a semi-formal dance being organized by LGBTQ groups from all five colleges and held here at Hampshire this November. Another big event is Drag Ball, an annual dance in which people are encouraged to dress in drag.
“I could’ve gone anywhere,” says Johnson. “But I came to Hampshire because of the queer hall and because I knew other queer students who were here and had a good community.”
Photo: Mike Wolf 07F and Cyree Johnson 07F, two of the student signers for QCA