New gay rights group has big plans for Kent activism


(From left) Barry Habusta, sophomore psychology major, Lorenzo Thomas, Activities Coordinator and sophomore philosophy major, Jamie Mileti, president and sophomore psychology major and other members of the soon to be student organization Gay Rights Revolutionaries met in the cyber cafe in the basement of the student center on Tuesday. The group–which will be an official group next school year–discusses current LGBT news, plans event to spread awareness, then ends each meeting with a group bonding exercise. Photo by Valerie Brown.

Daniel Moore

Starting next fall, there could be more than one student group serving as the voice for the LGBT community on campus.

Jamie Mileti, sophomore psychology major and president of Gay Rights Revolutionaries, said the group is not official but currently has a little over 20 members and a faculty advisor. But she said she hopes by fall to be ready to “kick it off with a bang, hopefully with a booth at welcome weekend.”

“We don’t intend to sit around and be quiet,” Mileti said.

The executive board first thought of the idea around Thanksgiving, she said, and then started growing this semester.

“We just want to promote equality and then also be able to work with major organizations like Cleveland LGBT Center,” she said. “We want to try to do things with them and maybe invite them here.”

Mileti said the group’s formation is not an opposition to anything PRIDE! Kent — the main organization representing LGBT students — has or hasn’t done. She said she feels there is still too much inequality and ignorance about the gay community on campus, and her group could be another activist.

“It’s not so much anything that PRIDE! is lacking,” Mileti said. “There’s just a small gap in the gay community where there’s nothing really being done. PRIDE! does things, and they have their fundraisers, but there’s not enough political awareness on campus.”

Jack Twedt, freshman geology major and secretary for the group, said she sees nothing confrontational or competitive about having two groups on campus.

“We want their support, and we in turn will support them, of course,” Twedt said. “We’re all working for the same thing. It’s just, you know, there are tons of Christian organizations on campus. Why can’t there be more than one gay rights group?”

PRIDE! President Trae Ruscin said he hasn’t spoken with anybody within GRR about the new group yet, but it reminded him of the Queer Liberation Front, an alternative group created October 2006 to complement PRIDE!.

“I kind of have a feeling that it’s similar to what happened to QLF that PRIDE! wasn’t being as active in the community,” Ruscin said. “They weren’t being as activist geared, and therefore people feel the need to make another group.”

Ruscin said when the PRIDE! boa

rd heard about the group, they talked about it and decided it wasn’t a big deal.

“I’m fine with it. I think that we could’ve helped them get their stuff together as a group if they wanted our help,” he said. “The more the merrier. That’s just more students who are getting involved. That’s more people doing good things for a good cause.”

No one has ever told the PRIDE! board anything about having problems with how PRIDE! runs things, he said.

Twedt said one thing GRR would do differently is coordinate and execute events more efficiently.

“If you want to do something, plan out what you want to do,” Twedt said. “Then you ask the university for funds. Then you use the funds to do that. They never really got past the planning part.”

Mileti said GRR already has a couple of future fundraisers in mind such as “Drag Racing” — men in skirts and high heels —running. GRR has already approached other student organizations like College Democrats and Student Liberty Alliance, she said, to make the events a campus-wide effort.

“We’re here to help the gay community. We’re not here to compete with anybody,” she said.

Twedt said she would like GRR to be its own independent group and not be looked at as “runaway gays.”

“We’re really trying to not defy anything,” Twedt said. “There is no animosity between the two groups. We just want to be more active.”

Contact Daniel Moore at [email protected].