Queer questions and queries get answered at an LGBTQ2IA+ panel

Beau Sansom, Staff Reporter

Grab a cup of tea and be ready to spill it at the Spill the Tea Q & A at the SURC Pit on May 31. According to ASCWU President Elect and second year theater performance major Malik Cantú, Spill the Tea will be an open forum and consist of a panel of Queer student leaders on campus who will discuss topics going on in the Queer community this year. 

“It’s going to be a time for people to come and sit down and chat with us about all the different things that have been going on in the community,” Cantú said. “There are going to be some kind of activating topics, so we definitely want to give fair warning to that.”

According to Cantú, the event will feature refreshments (some tea if you will.) Cantú said the topics for discussion will likely include challenges to the Queer community as well as celebration of more positive occurrences.

“This year there have been a lot of different attacks on the [LGBTQIA+] community,” Cantú said. “There’s definitely a lot of things to celebrate, but we also want to talk about all of the challenges we’ve been going through, and those topics can definitely be a little triggering and activating to people sometimes.”

According to EQuAL Board Member Elect and third year in public policy and political science Sam Mena, the event is being hosted by members of the CWU Pride Committee, EQuAL and Q*Fam, with many of the panelists belonging to one (or several) of these organizations. 

“A lot of members from [EQuAL and Q*Fam] combined to form the Pride Committee and [the Pride Committee] is putting on those events,” Mena said. “The President of EQuAL [Aaron Nelson] of course and Malik, they’re both going to be part of our panel and then we’re going to have board members from EQuAL.”

According to Cantú and Mena, Spill the Tea will be a place that gives people in the LGBTQ+ community a safe place where their voices can be heard and the challenges facing their community can be addressed. 

“[Spill the Tea] gives people a voice and that’s truly the significance,” Mena said. “A lot of the time people are uncomfortable speaking about topics such as the drag ban in Tennessee, especially in a place that’s as red as this side of the state, it’s very important because of that reason.”

According to Cantú, they hope that attendees will take away a sense of community support from Spill the Tea and that there is a lot to be celebrated in the LGBTQ+ community while also acknowledging the road ahead.

“I hope that [the attendees] can take away the range that the community still has when it comes to inclusivity and equity,” Cantú said. “There are definitely going to be moments where we can laugh and celebrate and have a good time talking about all the different things our community has accomplished over the year, and there are going to be moments of mourning and moments where we need to recognize all of the work we have left to do.”

Spill the Tea is an event open for anyone to participate in, including allies who don’t identify as LGBTQIA+. According to Mena, Spill the Tea is welcome to all and offers perspective into the struggles of the LGBTQIA+ community.

“I’m hoping that [non-LGBTQIA+ attendees] actually learn some stuff, they might be allies but they might not know some stuff about the Queer community,” Mena said. “I just hope they learn about what a struggle it is for us sometimes, I just hope they learn to be better allies, or allies in general if they weren’t before.”