Twenty-one percent of Generation Z (also known as Gen Z) – a group that makes up the majority of current college students – identifies as LGBTQ, according to a 2022 Gallup poll.
In the same year, more than 1 in 4 LGBTQ college students considered dropping out because of mental health challenges, a BestColleges survey found.
With the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ bills and legislation in the past few years, the continued economic struggle for queer youth, and social discrimination, it is vital to create a safer college environment for LGBTQ students.
Ivy Queerspace aims to do just that by being a safe space for Ivy Tech Community College’s LGBTQ students on the Indianapolis campus.
“We have such a diverse student population in terms of race, age, gender, sexuality – anything that you can think of – and I think we also have a large queer population among our staff and faculty, as well as our students,” Katie Tisdale, an Ivy Indy Dual Credit College Advisor, said. “I think having that representation, like ‘we're here, we're not going anywhere,’ despite certain attitudes or what other people might say on campus and having that safe space on campus is helpful.”
Tisdale is one of three faculty advisors for Ivy Queerspace, including Nathan Moss and Sam Garcia.
Ivy Queerspace was first founded in the 2016-17 academic year. It saw a great deal of success in terms of turnout. That was, of course, until the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, the group’s faculty advisors are looking to rebuild and put Ivy Queerspace back into the hands of Ivy Tech Indianapolis students. Tisdale says they aim to have Ivy Queerspace be as student-led and oriented as possible and want said students to create and conceive events they want to see on our campus.
“Our main priority has been getting enough students to attend the meetings so we can figure out what the pulse is and what they want to have for the club,” Tisdale said.
The Ivy Queerspace advisors hope to increase their average attendance numbers from seven to 10 students by holding upwards of 10 meetings in the upcoming fall semester. This is double the number of meetings they had this past spring semester.
Tisdale says although they are looking for a core group of LGBTQ students to take Ivy Queerspace and create the safe space they need, they also want queer students who need that dedicated space only every once in a while to feel like they can just pop in and stop by without being fully committed to the group.
“I think a lot of times with clubs, it feels like a big commitment. We don't want students to feel wrapped in it, even if they only want to attend one meeting. We just want you to know that this is a place where you can relax, meet with like-minded people, and build those on-campus relationships,” Tisdale said.
If you’re looking to get involved with Ivy Queerspace this summer, look no further than Pride Month.
The 2023 Indy Pride Parade is right around the corner, and Ivy Queerspace is part of the lineup of those participating. The organization allows anyone – student, staff, or faculty – to walk with them in the parade on Saturday, June 10.
The parade is from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., but Ivy Queerspace asks that those walking alongside them arrive early. If you or someone you know is interested in signing up, you can RSVP at ivylife.ivytec.edu.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.