Queer people of color (QPOC), an Eastern Michigan University campus based support group, hosted a meet and greet to introduce their group to other people and organizations of color under their new title; Queer and Trans people of Color Collective (QTPOCC), April 28.
“QTPOCC for me was pretty much the foundation of my self care, and the major reason I survived the 2016/2016 school year, including the presidential election and all the racial issues on campus,” said Jordan Morales, EMU student.
QTPOCC is a support group for people who identify as queer. The group has transitioned from QPOC to QTPOCC to be more inclusive and representative of their members and the overall purpose of the group. The term “queer” is associated with anyone who identifies anywhere along the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender spectrum, or beyond. The group is also respectful of non-identifiers and the intersection of different identifiers.
The group recognize that people and identities continuously change and that not everyone has the same needs mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and or psychologically, we will aim to cater to your needs as a collective and as individuals. The group also respects some members desire to remain anonymous to people outside of QTPOCC, so members aren’t required to do any external work for the group.
“Our connection is based off us having these identities that we can talk to each other about, and not having to be overheard by any other members of the group and it be uncomfortable. It's more than a safe place. It’s like I'm sitting in a room with a bunch of cousins, brothers and sisters,” said Morales.
The group serves as a platform to bring like minded individuals together and provide a platform to openly engage in dialogue around what it means to be a queer person of color. Members that choose to do work beyond group meetings also focus on programming, meetings, online community sharing, and informal conversations.
“QTPOCC was just welcoming to me in general. We hang outside of our meetings. We have family dinners. We joke with each other.We come together on a regular basis and I can say each individual member has formed some type of relationship with me and each of them are very strong relationships,” said Morales.
The group aims to focus and center the most marginalized identities within their community and work towards an empowering space, to learn about about others, ourselves and grow. Some members have been pushing their focus as active voices on campus at events and beyond, which has led to them acquiring a negative connotation for being outspoken.
“We do have a lot of negative imagery because we speak out on a lot of things but we speak out because it's in defense of other members of QQPOC. We’re not going to allow people with marginalized identities to be attacked. Especially not in a place that should be somewhere they feel safe,” said Morales.
When asked why QTPOCC speaks out , Morales replied, “Our identities are very political. We can't see tragedies such as trans people consistently being killed and not want to talk about it. Because it doesn't just impact us. It impacts other people like us.”
QTPOCC is a support group the collective is not under the guidelines of a campus organization. Only queer and trans people of color can attend the meetings, but when it comes to events everyone is welcome, unless specified otherwise.
“We want to create a foundation with other people and organizations of color on campus and beyond. We want to let them know that we are here and we are going to keep coming to their events and we expect them to come to ours. We are in solidarity for fighting against institutional racism that we experience here and experienced elsewhere,” said Jasmine Reynos, EMU student.