On Friday, November 2, the monthly social event Out and About gathered once again to talk and give a place for students and faculty alike to openly converse about not only heavy topics but just to check in with each other and ask about classes, friends, and build relationships.
It was created by the Keene State College Program Support Assistant for LGBTQ students, Hunter Kirshner, in the fall semester of 2017.
With so many outside factors that place stress on people in the media, such an inviting meeting can be beneficial in reassuring the LGBTQ community.
For example, the leaked memo from the department of health about defining sex as a immutable biological condition determined by genitalia at birth in NY Times, creates stress, fear and anxiety and this group helpfully would allow people to talk and to show and give support.
By engaging attendees in a creative activity, sign making, no speakers just everyone gathering to talk and channel the feelings of distress caused by the NY Times article to help people process the feelings.
Hunter said he hopes this welcoming environment if anything becomes a place friends are made and people of the LGBTQ community can just talk.
While Out and About was not explicitly created for people coming out, it could be a place for people exploring identities.
The main goal in forming this meeting is to make a consistent space for people to go to and engage and talk.
As far as emotional support goes, the office of Diversity and Multicultural Student Support is, for many, an informal support to meet other people and build relationships.
Of course the campus has a counseling center available that is encouraged to be utilized for anyone that wants to talk.
Gwent Phillips can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org