Gathering in the Sunlight

Friday, June 17, 2022

student with flag
I’ll admit it – I was nervous when I accepted the offer to live at Conrad Grebel. I had visited a couple of times and knew the rooms were lovely, the food was fantastic, and the people were friendly. But as a bisexual person who grew up in a faith community, I had some doubts about how my queerness would be viewed in the Grebel residence. I moved into Grebel at an important time in my life – one where I was learning to accept who I am and to live with pride. I desperately needed a community that would affirm and support me. Luckily, that was exactly what I found. A couple days into my stay, I was invited to join QuAQ (Queer, Allied, and Questioning), Grebel’s LGBTQ2+ group. A large group of students congregated at the firepit and I could hear the upper-year students excitedly discussing the turnout. During the meeting, one member explained how far QuAQ had come since its early days, where members quietly congregated in the basement. Now, we were basking in the sunlight.

Our meetings take many forms. Sometimes we discuss action we want to take within our residence and our wider community. Occasionally we run “Questions for Queers,” an opportunity for anyone to pose anonymous questions about the LGBTQ2+ community they might otherwise be too scared to ask. But often, we simply exist in the same place as one another, playing games, making art, and reveling in queer joy. It is exactly the kind of safe space I felt was missing from my life.

This is not to say that Grebel is perfect. Like any other institution, there are barriers to overcome and lessons to learn. But we are all learning together. Bit by bit, Grebel has become a welcoming, inclusive, and affirming space. For this, we must thank past and present members of QuAQ, who lead discussions, have meetings with administration, and work tirelessly to ensure Grebel is constantly improving. I look forward to the future, when new queer, allied, and questioning Grebelites will gather in the sunlight, feeling the same sense of community that I felt during my first QuAQ meeting. After all, Grebel is all about community.

Happy Pride!

By Alana Matsuo, third-year Knowledge Integration student