Campus holds “Queer It Week” to raise awareness for LGBTQ students on campus

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Monday marked the start of Pride at Illinois’ “Queer It Week,” which aims to raise awareness about issues affecting LGBTQ students and to promote a safe environment for underrepresented groups on campus.

The event will span through the weekend and includes events such as “Queer Tie-Dye” in Allen Hall and a volleyball tournament starting Saturday at the Leonhard Recreation Center.

Sarah Mowitz, president of Pride at Illinois and senior in FAA, said the event is unique to the University.

“Originally we celebrated Day of Silence, which is a national holiday to highlight the violence that takes place against LGBT students on college campuses and in high school classroom settings, but we discovered we couldn’t raise awareness the same way we wanted to,” Mowitz said.

Mowitz said Pride at Illinois started “Queer It Week” as an alternative way to raise awareness through daily activities, lectures and other interactive programs.

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The event also works to include other underrepresented groups on campus.

“One thing that we try to focus on, especially within Pride, is intersectionality,” Mowitz said. “We understand that gender and sexual orientation collide (with) race and ethnicity and religious association; all those intersections are really important. All of the cultural houses are cosponsoring ‘Queer It Week’ events.”

One of the final events of the week is a “hug-in” that organizers hope will bring awareness to the street harassment that LGBTQ students face.

Mowitz said the event will consist of participants walking down the street with posters, handing out candy and giving out hugs to “raise awareness of the issues and attempt to create a safe space for queer individuals.” The event will recognize the adversity a transgender student faced after a verbal and physical assault on Green Street eight years ago.

The events of “Queer It Week” are open to anyone who would like to participate and all are encouraged to join in.