It can be difficult to go home for the holidays. It can be even more difficult for members of the LGBTQ community, according to Arielle Scherrer of the LGBTQ Resource Center.
The LGBTQ Resource Center opened its doors to students and members of the community Wednesday to celebrate Friendsgiving.
“The purpose of this event is to create a safe place for LGBTQ students who cannot go home for the holidays and have to go back into the closet and hide who they are,” Scherrer said. “This is a meal and an event where people can just be themselves and enjoy the company of others.”
Friendsgiving is a trend in which friend groups and organizations have a Thanksgiving-style meal with their friends, peers or community members, usually prior to Thanksgiving Day.
This event has been seen in many student organizations and friend groups throughout the season, and the LGBTQ Resource Center has provided another safe space for members of the community to gather together and enjoy a meal.
“I came in part because I believe the LGBTQ Resource Center is this incredible place for students and for staff,” Dean of Students Nasha Torrez said. “I was hoping that I could meet students and help support them and let them know that over the holidays (the University) is still always a place full of people who will love them and share a meal with them.”
The resource center was filled with conversations and laughter as people gathered to share food and good times. Seating started to run low due to the high turnout.
“It’s important to have a space for LGBTQ to build a community and create alternative forms of family because sometimes people don’t have their own,” Scherrer said.
According to a Greenberg Research study, the holidays can cause high levels of distress for lower income individuals or individuals placed in situations that cause more pressure to perform more duties to please others during meals and events. This tension can also have a negative effect on those who face exclusion, have hostile family relationships or who do not have family to spend the holiday with.
“Sometimes students don’t have a place to go home to, so it’s nice to remind them that the University can be a home away from home,” Torrez said. “This home can help them in a lot of different ways, and (home) doesn’t have to just be the people who are your blood relatives.”
Rebecca Brusseau is a news and culture reporter at the Daily Lobo. She primarily covers the LGBTQ community. She can be contacted at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @r_brusseau.