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September 21, 2023

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University support group helps students

For some students who are part of the LGBT community and for those who aren’t, it may be difficult to speak about their sexual identities or personal issues.

However, assistant director in the office of Multicultural Affairs, Tobias Spears, and assistant director at the Counseling Center, Denise Litterer, have been hosting a sexual identity support group known as Intersections at the University. The group deals with LGBT students coming together and speaking about topics such as homophobia, racism, online dating, liberalism and the cultural climate at the University.

Spears said it’s a space for people to come and speak about topics that aren’t always discussed on campus regardless of where they are in terms of their sexuality.

“It’s for people to come together and talk about how their identities intersect and work to create their experiences here at the University,” Spears said. “We needed to create a space where people could come and not feel like they had to be out of the closet or in a closet.”

Litterer said because of Intersections taking place at the Resource Center, it gives a sense of safety to the students who attend and makes them feel like they can speak about whatever they want, even to complete strangers if it’s their first time attending. The leaders will usually ask what to speak about and it depends on who attends that meeting on what is going to be discussed.

“The LGBT groups are welcoming,” Litterer said. “You’re automatically a part of the group, even if you don’t share your sexual identity. They tend to be open and honest and it’s a pretty amazing group.”

Junior Daniel Rivera has been attending the support group for two years and said people who attend the meeting will come to the group with an idea to discuss and everyone will speak and reflect on it.

“Compared to all of the other groups on campus, everyone has a voice here,” Rivera said. “I think it’s a huge benefit because it’s a smaller group and not a lot of people like going to a big group to speak compared to something small where they can have some type of support system.”

Spears said one of the main reasons why the support group exists is because the Resource Center hosts programs that privilege sexual identity as most salient, but he feels groups are also necessary for those students who don’t understand their sexuality as the number one facet of their identity, which is why the group is hosted in a safe environment and why people are able to speak about whatever is on their mind besides LGBT issues.

“It’s for anyone to come in and have a conversation about anything,” Spears said. “It’s for all students in the LGBT community, as well as students who don’t identify as a sexual minority.”

Intersections is held every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Resource Center in the Math and Science building during the school year. There aren’t any sessions during the summer break. The support group will have its first meeting on September 12 for the next school year.

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