New group offered for minority LGBTQ students

Craig Zombar

The LGBTQ Student Center is adding a new student organization, Threads, in the fall for minority students who identify as LGBTQ.

“The new organization is named after the intersectionality of all minorities & backgrounds in the LGBTQ community,” said Threads adviser Yvette Mendoza, an administrative assistant in the Student Center.

The group’s mission statement said the group is “welcoming people of color who are at various stages of understanding the coming out process, questioning or accepting their sexuality and/or understanding LGBTQ community.”

Actress Laverne Cox inspired the idea for the group.

“The idea really was founded on what Laverne Cox has been able to accomplish throughout her career so far and what an inspiration she has been for our community,” said graduate human development and family studies major Alicia Robinson, who also helped create the group.

She said Threads, which will have its first meeting Tuesday, Sept. 8, will be a support group as well as a forum to educate about issues of minorities in the LGBTQ community.

“I hope this could be a place where people can come and feel safe and also tell other people things that might be going on…so issues can be resolved,” Robinson said.

Ken Ditlevson, director of the LGBTQ Student Center, said the group will help minority LGBTQ students connect with one another.

“When you’re sitting at a table and you’re the only person like yourself there, it’s very easy to feel left out,” he said. “I want Kent State to be a place where all are welcome, and it hurt my heart to hear some of the stories in a meeting this spring about how a student didn’t feel welcome in the community.”

Ditlevson said many of the students in Kent’s existing LGBTQ organizations are white.

“Building this community is so important because sometimes these students are rejected by their friends and families and have nowhere else to go, especially for those in minorities,” he said.

Mendoza said coming out in the Latino community can be difficult.

“There is this idea of ‘machismo’ in our community, where men have to be men, and women have to be women; there’s no in between,” she said.

Mendoza said she hopes Threads will help students who might be facing discrimination or harassment on campus.

“We can’t let any more of these types of situations happen for anybody on this campus,” she said. “Hopefully this new organization could help give these students a place to go and feel accepted.”

Contact Craig Zombar at [email protected]