The IU Queer Student Union aims to advocate for more queer-friendly policies on IU’s campus. Members say it has built an on-campus community for LGBTQ students.
“Founding the Queer Student Union is as much about creating that common community as it is organizing an advocating body to take on the issues that affect queer students at IU that often go unrecognized,” QSU founder Carrick Moon said.
Freshman Chloé Diaz, a member of QSU’s advocacy team, said for people self-identifying as queer, being in a queer community is crucial.
“I just think when it comes down to community, it’s absolutely everything,” she said.
Diaz said QSU allows her to be around queer individuals who have gone through similar challenges as she has.
“Growing up, I never really had any queer people around me, and that made my existence seem very difficult,” she said. “But now in the QSU, I'm surrounded by people who I identify with, by people who understand the struggles I go through day to day as a queer individual.”
Diaz said QSU also makes her feel safe celebrating her queer identity.
“You never know if someone even believes in your rights as a human or not,” she said. “And I think with the QSU, it gives you a sense of security with the people you're around.”
Jayden Boudreau, advocacy lead of the QSU, is responsible for reaching out to and collaborating with other student organizations. They said coming from a small Indiana town, they came to IU expecting it to be a liberal campus. They said although they haven’t had negative experiences for being queer, they feel IU is not a place to celebrate their identity.
“I was a little bit disappointed,” they said. “It was like nobody had carved out a place for me to stand yet, and I knew that I was going to have to work with other people to do that on my own.”
Boudreau said QSU is important for them and for queer IU students not just because of the community it creates, but also for its advocacy to make IU’s campus more queer-friendly. They said next semester the organization will push for IU’s administrators to make menstrual products available for free in all restrooms and create more gender-neutral restrooms.
Moon said QSU will also help advise the renovation of the LGBTQ+ Culture Center with student surveys and focus groups.
QSU has offered many sex education sessions and plans to hold a fundraiser in late April for national and local social justice organizations, Moon said. He said the fundraiser will feature local musicians and will take place at Dunn Meadow. Funds raised will go to local and national organizations fighting anti-trans legislation, he said.
Moon said the organization, which will register to become a self-governed student organization in the fall, is devoted to bringing positive change for queer IU students.
“We’re not here to be cute,” he said. “We're here to buckle down and empower each other.”