Take an inside look at CNU’s organization for LGBTQ+ students
Love. Community. Acceptance.
These are just a few of the many positive words that describe Spectrum, CNU’s “resource and support organization” for LGBTQ+ individuals, according to president Jonah Peters.
Spectrum exists as a form of community for those who identify as LGBTQ+ at Christopher Newport, creating a safe place for them to find a group in which they can express themselves fully.
“We host events discussing healthy sexual and romantic relationships, as well as providing the campus with free sexual health materials at all of our events,” Peters said.“It’s important to talk about relationships, and specifically relationships in relation to sexual and gender identity due to the impact that they have on our students.”
Peters expressed that relationships are an important subject to college students, and that Spectrum exists to help those in relationships no matter what kind they are.
“Keeping a healthy mental state is difficult with everything that a college expects of its students, and it becomes even more difficult when you factor in that students who are part of the LGBT community may not have a support system from their family at home, or from their friends at school as a result of their identity,” he said.
One of the biggest misconceptions that many students have about Spectrum is that they exist solely for CNU’s LGBTQ+ population, but Peters says that Spectrum is a resource for everyone at CNU.
Peters said the group does everything in their power to avoid seeming like a clique, which he said turned away some interested students from the organization.
“In the past, Spectrum was mostly a group of the same people every week, making it easy to feel excluded if you were new,” he said. “Since then, we have focused on trying to shift away from that perspective, instead focusing on expanding our connections. We have new people at the club every week and all of our regular members are friendly, so we are more than welcome to people who just want to stop by once or twice, ask a few questions, or just meet someone new.”
Their truly accepting nature, as well as the wide range of events they put on, offer opportunities for those outside the organization to gather as allies and see what Spectrum is all about.
They are also educators and advocates for general student sexual health, promoting safe practices no matter what a student’s sexual orientation is.
Spectrum hosts several events and mixers throughout the academic year, such as last semester’s True Life Panel, in which members spoke on a panel about their experiences being LGBTQ+ in college and on CNU’s campus specifically.
Drag Ball, their most popular event each year which draws all kinds of attendees and performers who come from CNU and beyond, is coming up on Thursday, April 4, in the DSU Ballroom from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“It’s an evening of fun. We invite drag queens from the local area to come perform for a night, as well as several amateur drag performers from on campus and some of CNU’s dance teams as well,” said Peters.
Tickets to the event are $1, but Spectrum encourages donations to be made to the LGBT Life Center of Hampton Roads and Access Aids.
Peters encourages any interested students to reach out to Spectrum.
“We host events that are public for anyone who wants to attend and is respectful of others, and we have resources that are free for the campus, such as sexual health education resources and tools such as condoms for safer sex. We are a resource, and we would love if more of the campus felt comfortable with coming to us for things that we could help them with.”
~Anna Dorl, Lifestyle Editor~