When freshman Angel Blanchard decided to come to Knox, she was looking forward to entering a community that better included her. As a queer person of color in a primarily white suburb, Blanchard did not always feel comfortable with embracing her identities. While Blanchard found the welcoming community she hoped for, she often felt like a minority even in cultural clubs.
“It seemed like I either had to do things that are for people of color or I had to do things that are, like, ‘queer things,’” she said. “But there’s not really something that caters to both of those.”
Blanchard wanted to create a space for people of color who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. With four other students, she formed the Queer and Trans People of Color Collective. Blanchard and another organizer, freshman Monica Cardoza, feel that, while Knox offers space for specific groups, it is not always intersectional.
“When you go into an LGBTQ+ space, you can’t necessarily be a person of color,” Cardoza said. “You have to be a part of that one community. Or when you are a person of color and you are queer or trans you’re another minority within your own group.”
So far, the five organizers of the collective do not have any set plans for its future. In the initial meeting, Cardoza hopes to receive input and feedback from attendees. They want the club to provide what students need, not their own preconceived idea of what they need.
“For the most part I think we want it to be a support group for now, where we do have these queer, trans people of color to talk about the struggle of being both,” they said. “And understanding what that means in your community.”
Blanchard does not feel that intersectionality is talked about as much as it should be, and hopes that the formation of the QTPOCC inspires other clubs to branch out and discuss different experiences within their specific groups.
“We’re talking about something that people are not really thinking about, so we’re trying to be more exposing in terms of what we should be talking about,” she said. “And I think other clubs talk about things we already know about … I think it would be good to take the next step and think about what we aren’t including.”
Cardoza hopes the collective prompts conversations about identity and intersectionality on campus. After gauging interest in the group, they hope to open up later meetings to campus, as well as bring in guest lecturers. They mentioned that bringing a Knox alum who is queer person of color would be a good way to educate students on their experiences outside the Knox campus.
The QTPOCC will hold its first event on Friday, May 3 in Wilson House. The event will go from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and will be open to queer and trans people of color exclusively.