LGBTQ organizations hope to begin new tradition at UI


IC Pride parade goers take pictures of Washington St. on Saturday, June 17. The parade is part of Pride Month, a celebration of the LGBTQ community and commemoration of the Stonewall riots of 1969. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Sydney Bleil, [email protected]

Campus LGBTQ student organizations teamed up to present the first-ever QUEERnival, to be held at Hubbard Park from 3-6 p.m. today.

QUEERnival will be the first organization fair held exclusively for LGBTQ organizations.

The event was spearheaded by University of Iowa senior Sean Finn, the main coordinator of queer organizations leadership. Finn said that while the LGBTQ organizations attend the campus-wide student organization fair, they were concerned that it was easy get lost in the crowd.

“This was something that we’ve been trying to do for a couple years now,” he said. “We wanted an event that showcased our organizations.”

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Alex Bare, the outreach director for Spectrum, emphasized the value of such an event.

“The community has grown so much more than it was when it was just Spectrum,” Bare said. “It’s really important that students within the queer community get to see not just one student org but all the student orgs that represent a whole array of diversity.”

Bare is especially excited about the LGBT organizations working together for this event. LGBT organizations have teamed up in the past to present events and activities for LGBTQ History Month in October and events such as STRUT in the Park.

“It’s best for the student orgs to work together,” Bare said. “Together we can produce so much more interest with all the students.”

QUEERnival will feature Spectrum, the UI Trans Alliance, and Reaching OUT in Business, the first club for LGBTQ students in the Tippie College of Business. It will also include resources such as Women’s Resource & Action Center and the University of Iowa Student Government.

“One big problem we’re trying to fix with this event is the lack of knowledge about resources,” Finn said.

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Finn said he hopes to eliminate the fear queer students might have about engaging with resources that turn out to be unwelcoming. The LGBTQ Resource House, located at 125 Grand Ave. Court, provides LGBTQ students a space on campus for support and interaction with other LGBTQ students.

“We are definitely looking to grow,” said Kevin Tobin, the president of OSTEM Iowa. “Adding anyone would be awesome.”

Tobin is also excited that the event is drawing allies as well as queer students.

Leaders of the LGBT organizations hope the event will become annual.

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