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The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

The Thoughts of the Q

Hi, namaste, salaam and shalom.

 

My name is Stephanie Bonvissuto and I am the 2010-2011 student coordinator for The Queer Student

Center (affectionately known as ‘The Q’) here at UMass, Boston.

 

Before coming to Boston I have touched down in a number of zip codes and no matter where I have

landed I hear the same grumbles about the Queer Community. For me they are all originate from the

same intersection of heterosexual standards, male-normative values, dominant religion mores and

oblivious class privilege. People ask why we need a day for Pride – where’s their “straight pride day”?

They want to know why we should celebrate coming out – can’t we keep who we are behind closed

doors (be it bedroom, closet or otherwise)? Why do we have to hold hands on the street, kiss at baseball

games, or show any public displays of affection – can’t we just be, you know, less “gay” in front of them?

Folks have even challenged our right to protest – why do we have to keep seeking attention like that?

And what’s with all those special rights we keep asking for, anyway – can’t we just be happy with what

we have?

 

Some have even obliquely wondered, why The Q?

 

And I think, really? Why The Q? Because as humans we are social creatures seeking not only the

adventurous new but the comfort of familiarity. We yearn to see ourselves reflected in the everyday,

whether it’s in the classroom, at the café or waiting for the T. We need the space to lay down our

community, especially in the midst of an environment that tends to aggressively mirror only the

dominant culture. (Sound familiar, anyone?)

 

Why the Q? Because like everyone else we seek to hear experiences we can relate to, commonalities

we share, those her-stories and histories that speak of our own hopes, despairs and dreams. Wait, you

say, isn’t that given? And I reply, when was the last time you heard in class about the queers who played

important roles in History, Communications, Politics? (Hmmm, did someone say UMass Boston is in

need a Queer Studies discipline?) The influence of bisexuals, lesbians, gays, trans-folk and gender-queers

are found in more than just the Arts. Even my First Year Seminar pointed out that enforced invisibility is

not the same as equality.

 

Why The Q? Because like the populations served by the Black Student Center, The Student Veteran’s

Center, Casa Latina, Asian Student Center, the Women’s Center and the other student centers at UMass

Boston, The Queer Student Center supplies the demand for a welcoming safe space and communal

exchange while fostering education and social advancement for a so-called minority group. If we had

Cliff Notes for our Mission Statement it would read to educate, advocate and celebrate who we are in all

our diversity – without apology or exception.

 

That’s why The Q.