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Friday, June 14
The Indiana Daily Student

Social group connects queer grad students

When Grad Queers founder Leah Thill came to IU, she noticed a serious vacancy in chances for queer grad students to connect.

This led Thill to seek out Doug Bauder of GLBT Support Services to create Grad Queers.

GQ is a new informal social group at IU, to bring together queer graduate students who might otherwise have a difficult time finding one another on campus.

“When I came here as a graduate student there was no community for queer graduate students,” Thill said. “So I spoke with Doug, and we got together with some of our peers, and we decided to make our own community.”

Social opportunities are especially important for graduate students because the nature of graduate work can be very isolating, said Jacob Boss, a GQ member and Ph.D. student in religious studies.

“We’re all so wrapped up in our teaching and other responsibilities that it can be hard to meet people, especially those who identify under the queer umbrella,” Boss said.

GQ serves a similar role as a group that previously existed at IU called Grad Pride, which also aimed to connect grad students in the LGBT community.

Although it used to be well-attended, the group fizzled out when its leaders graduated.

Thill said she used Grad Pride as an inspiration when laying the groundwork for GQ.

Currently, the organization has about 70 active members, Thill said.

Because the group is informal, events are not mandatory nor rigidly 

Anyone in the group is free to suggest and put on an event.

Previous activities have included board game parties, nights out at 
Bloomington bars, a book club and trivia nights.

Boss said the variety of activities and freedom to suggest new things makes GQ members comfortable.

“We’re trying make it accessible to people who want to do a wide range of things,” Boss said. “Whether you enjoy going out and having a nightlife or you’d rather do something quiet at home, we have things that appeal to everybody.”

Members of GQ come from a variety of backgrounds, both academically and socially, which makes the socializing that happens within the group very enriching, Thill said.

“We have non-traditonal students, parents and people with a lot of different lifestyles,” Thill said. “We have more than a dozen departments within the University represented.”

One of the organization’s next big events is a game night in early April, complete with board games and Dance, Dance Revolution.

Q is an easy way for LGBT grad students to make a big place smaller and to connect with people like them, Boss said.

“Unquestionably one of the best things for me is being able to meet so many queer grad students from such a diverse array of departments,” Boss said.

“I get to meet people I’d never meet otherwise. We have that bond of identifying as queer in some way, and then we get to be friends too and build off that common ground.”

Those interested in joining Grad Queers can send an email to and request to be added to the group’s 
mailing list.

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