On Friday night, Free 2 Be hosted a “Donuts and Drag” party, where they served many a donut whilst dressed in drag. Among the guys wearing prom dresses and girls rocking fake penises, the dancing started and the DJ jammed the night away.
Sophomore Ashley Gallo, Vice President of Free 2 Be, said that the event was a kickoff of the new semester and a way to welcome the group back and start the semester with a bang. Free 2 Be is a student-run organization that works for equality and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
Gallo says that one of Free 2 Be’s goals is to promote a more aware community. She also thinks that the UVM community is fairly accepting of LGBTQA students, but it “has a long way to go”. Gallo says that she feels there is still a lot of indirect homophobia, such as students calling things “gay” and ignoring issues.
Freshman Emily Jakubowics said, “the population of queers is much bigger than the numbers we have.” She said that the group is a close-knit community and that when she came here out of high school, it was “an instant set of people who will accept you”. She says that after her high school experience at an all-girl Catholic school, UVM’s LGBTQA community is “freeing.”
Karl Fellenius, who is a LGBTQA ally, said, “I’ve got a lot of friends that are bi and gay. They seem to love each other more than straight people do. I don’t care, they’re just people.”
Sophomore Xona Bari said that Free 2 Be is a close-knit, supportive community, “I like the connections that I have with people.”
When asked about the UVM community, she said that UVM is really supportive, but the whole community needs to learn a lot. “I don’t think that they know the difference between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’.” She said that sex is biological and gender is socially influenced, looking to the canon of newborn boys at the hospital wearing blue as an example.
Free 2 Be wants allies. Bari said, “if we have people that don’t necessarily identify with us support us, it will have a bigger effect.” She compared it to the Waterman takeover in the ’60s when black students were fighting for equality for a long time and white students decided to join in and things actually changed.
Free 2 Be has meetings on Monday at 8 p.m. in the SGA Club Space in the basement of Billings. For more information, visit www.uvm.edu/~free2b or email the club at [email protected]