Although same-sex marriage has only been legal in North Dakota for just over a year, North Dakota State has had a club supporting the LGBTQ+ movement for over ten years.
Pride Alliance is a undergraduate student organization which aims to strengthen and sustain an inclusive campus community by creating a safe place for undergraduate students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning. The group presently has about 20 active members.
Resources available for members of this organization are the semester activities that are held to help these students make connections and meet other members, a quiet space to study within the Office of Gender and Sexual Diversity and also books addressing any questions they might have about sexual orientation.
NDSU also has an organization for graduate students that identify as LGBTQ+ called Grad Prism. Grad Prism currently has about ten members Andrea Wagner, graduate assistant for GSD said.
LGBTQ+ pride month is October, with National Coming-Out Day being Tuesday. These organizations are hosting a panel event where people will tell their personal coming-out stories to commemorate the month. Another event commemorating the month will be Retro Game Night on Oct. 19. Both events are free and open to the NDSU community.
Gender and Sexual Diversity will present a quilt built of squares hand crafted by individuals who support and are apart of the LGBTQ+ community at the end of October.
“The quilt that we currently have is about ten years old, so we are excited to see how the new one will turn out,” Wagner said.
Wagner said the importance of these groups are to “provide a network of other students that identify as LGTBQ, that can meet up… and explore the other opportunities that are offered by the office of Gender and Sexual Diversity.”
This month GSD is offering safe zone training courses, which are programs that help educate people on sexual orientation as well gender and identity expression issues.
These courses are not only for members of the LGBTQ+ community, they are for those interested in becoming an ally for this group. An ally is someone who commits to being a supportive and trustworthy resource for members.
Darcy Corbitt-Hall, co-leader of Grad Prism and a doctoral student in the psychology department, said, “As minorities on campus it is important for us to have a place to gather with people like us for support and for advice. Both Pride Alliance and Grad Prism allow LGBTQ+ students from across the university find the support that is essential for positive student experiences.”
“I have been able to make lasting friendships because of these organizations, and I have been able to utilize my position in the group to advocate better for LGBTQ+ students on campus who may otherwise not have a voice,“ Corbitt-Hall added.