Alliance’s presence on campus has been growing. Holding topical panels, offering LGBT+ film screenings and discussions while also providing members with a space to talk about topics and experiences that relate to the LGBT+ community.
“The mission of Alliance is to support, educate and advocate for the LGBT+ community,” said Ascher Billings, Alliance president. “We also try to create a safe space for students to explore issues related to identity, whether that be sexuality or gender identity, and also the intersectionality of those identities with things like ethnicity and religion.”
Throughout the month of October, renamed “OUTober” by Alliance, the student organization has been holding several events, including the Sexuality Monologues, and Out and Greek panel and a showing of the film “Rent.”
“We did the sexuality monologues and had a great turnout,” said Mae Billings, Alliance vice president. “What you do is you stand up on a soap box and give a monologue or poem and you speak about your experience and your sexuality.”
The Out and Greek panel provided attendees with knowledge on what it's like to be a part of both the LGBT+ community and Greek Life on campus. The event hosted Valpo alumnus and Alliance founder Kyle Jordan, and three Greek Life members who identify as LGBT+.
The final “OUTober” event is the upcoming showing of “Rent.” The film will be screened on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Gandhi-King Center.
Alliance is also planning two events for November, which will focus on the transgender experience, as November is Transgender Awareness Month.
A film on transgender experience will be showing on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Gandhi-King Center. Alliance will also be hosting a transgender panel on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. in the Gandhi-King Center. The panel will discuss what it is like being transgender, as well as other topics and issues involving the transgender community.
“For the trans panel, we will have one or two alumni coming back to be on that panel, and then also myself and another trans person on campus,” Ascher Billings said. “We’re going to speak about our experiences (from) back home and also here at Valpo. People will also be able to ask questions.”
In the future, Alliance hopes to provide a safe space for LGBT+ students on campus and gain more membership.
“Hopefully, we will keep growing,” Mae Billings said. “We all are little scared because some of us are studying abroad next fall, so we won’t be on the e-board, so we're trying to just make sure that our members stay committed and that our group keeps growing and that we have a strong e-board next year.”
“We just want to make campus a safer space for LGBT+ people and we feel like we provide that,” she added.
Alliance holds meetings every other Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Ghandi-King Center. Anyone who is curious about joining is welcome, and does not have to identify as LGBT+. The group is open to allies and any others who want to learn more about the LGBT+ community.
Alliance member Michal Scherer-Berry said the organization just wants to make people feel included in a space that’s free from judgement.
“We just want everyone to have a gay ‘ol time,” he said.