The CapU Queer Collective welcomes elders into their meetings once a month
Sheila Arellano // News Editor
Mikaela Manuel // Illustrator
The CapU Queer Collective is unifying generations of LGBTQ2S+ folks by inviting an elder to share their experiences with students at the university once a month. Meetings are held every Tuesday from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm where CSU Advocacy Director Lori Kosciuw facilitates open discussion between the elders and students. “First, we do a quick round of pronouns, then a fun question and after we just get into it and we let the elder tell their story. Then we go into questions and discussion,” Queer Students’ Liaison Michaela Ellen Volpe said.
There is a large generational divide seen in the LGBTQ2S+ community today, something the Queer Collective hopes to bridge. Volpe shared that the Queer Collective had been planning on inviting elders for some time. “For the last couple of years, we’ve all talked about it in meetings, but we didn’t have a concrete way of how to bring folks in, especially because there aren’t a ton of queer elders in the community,” Volpe said.
These monthly meetings hope to share comprehensive knowledge of queer history with both students and people in general. Young queer folk, especially those just starting university, don’t often have extensive knowledge of queer history. As a community, LGBTQ2S+ groups have overcome much to gain rights and reclaim their voice. Thus, it is crucial to acknowledge the struggles that these communities have faced in the past in order to understand how much work there is still to come. “From the elder’s perspective, I think it’s nice to be able to show that you’ve come this far and you’ve done all of these things and you’ve succeeded and triumphed in all of this and it’s something that is really missing,” Volpe added.
Stories play a part in this mutual sharing and understanding of the past. The Queer Elder Program encourages elders to speak about their experiences so that students see what it was like to come out 30 years ago. While their experience may often be different from coming out today, there are plenty of similarities that others can draw from. These similarities become the thread that weaves generations together and promotes intergenerational understanding. “It helps to see that other people who are older than you have gone through [coming out] because I think there’s this idea in the older generations that [young Queer people] are following a trend when that’s not the case,” Volpe said.
Diversity is an important aspect of the Queer Elder Program and the collective in general. Queer students from all backgrounds are welcome to attend. “We have a really diverse group right now. We try our best to tackle and approach [Queer issues] in the most intersectional way that we can. We try whatever we can to intersect identity and diversity into all of our meetings because I think it’s really important,” Volpe said.
Sharing between generations also inspires young people to understand that they are not alone. “I think it helps seeing an elder who is successful, it helps inspire [people] to believe that they can keep going,” Volpe concluded. The Queer Collective meeting sare held every Tuesday from 11:30 am until 1:00 pm in LB190. A lock is placed on the door but the password can be given to anyone who asks. Students are encouraged to join the meetings and get involved.