QPOC hosts self-love discussion for Coming Out Week

When asked about stereotypes, everyone in the discussion was eager to speak out.

On Oct. 13, Queer People Of Color held a discussion and lecture night to kick off 2014 Coming Out Week at MU.

The lecture, Loving the Skin that You’re In, encouraged students to claim their identity with pride and to promote self-love. Senior Ashley Bland, communications director for QPOC, helped lead the discussion.

An attendee in the discussion circle decides to reveal her heartache, but also reveals her pride: “Just because I am a black lesbian woman,” she said. “I am not angry and aggressive. I am not going through a phase, and I am not uncomfortable in my own skin. I am not a chicken connoisseur. I am strong and proud of who I am.”

The LGBTQ Resource Center is a safe space. This means while in discussion, to come from a place of good intention, or not come at all.

“I am personally learning a lot about self-love,” Bland said. “Tonight, we’re aiming to emphasize that importance. That you are important, that you are enough and your image is unique.”

When asked about stereotypes, everyone in the discussion was eager to speak out.

Bland said as queer people of color, “ ignorance is something that (they) experience and deal with,” Bland said. “I do believe we have an open-minded campus, but at times we are open-minded at our own convenience. We may not wish to talk about certain things. But tonight, we’re breaking down stereotypes for LGBTQ specifically.”

But when asked about the concept of self-love versus self-acceptance, a tough silence ensued in the room. Then, another attendee raised her hand. Without self-love, she said, it doesn’t matter how many others love you.

Freshman Alex Rowles, a new member of QPOC, said she felt positivity radiating from the discussion, and has spent time confronting her own identity as a queer woman of color.

“Some people think we should be afraid of who we are,” Rowles said. “There are so many negative things people hear about themselves, and I think that it’s so important to love yourself.”

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