The GLBT Center brought back an existing program with a new twist on Feb. 10, 2022. “Our Futures” is a program hosted by the GLBT Center that brings together Triangle area LGBTQ+ adults and students with the goals of fostering community, helping students describe what queer adulthood looks like in the Triangle and articulating elements of their desired future as queer individuals.
In the past, the program has brought one speaker per session to discuss a topic related to the speaker’s interests or career. Discussions have been lively, but GLBT Center staff felt that the arc of the program lacked something — a chance for deeper student-speaker connection. Enter Anita Simha (they/them), Samanuel Martin (he/him) and Maddy Goss (she/her), this semester’s speakers-in-residence.
“Our Futures” now features Simha, Martin and Goss sharing the stage (or more accurately, roundtable) on three occasions. At each event, the speaker triad begins with a fishbowl dialogue, where questions bounce around the group and comments build off of one another. Student participants observe and get a feel for the scope of the conversation before the dialogue opens up. In the second half of each “Our Futures” session, student participants get just as much air time as the speakers. Questions involve the room as a whole, and all parts of the room learn equally alongside each other.
Each session’s topic follows a thought partnership with one of the GLBT Center’s sibling centers. For the Feb. 10 event, discussion focused on the theme of Black History Month: “The Freedom to Dream: Re-rooting, Re-imagining, and Reconnecting our Black Communities.” In that session, Simha and Martin tackled deep topics like “What are the signs you look for to know when you are forming roots in a location?” and “What are some ways we think we can re-root ourselves in the places we know to be home?”
As might be expected from the questions posed, all parts of the room shared some solemn head nods and chest rumbles of appreciation for wisdom shared. There were also deep belly laughs, eyes crinkling over masks and jokes that quickly became runners in the conversation. A major theme of the night was what community feels like once it’s found: effortless, like you don’t have to over-explain or second guess your place, like the people you’re with ‘just get it.’
LGBTQ+ identities, like many of our social identities, flourish when nourished by community engagement. Looking ahead to upcoming “Our Futures” installments, the GLBT Center staff hopes to strengthen the bonds formed in February and invite students to reconnect with the speakers in residence for a discussion informed by the theme of Women’s Herstory Month.
Are you or someone you know an LGBTQ+ student at NC State? Join the GLBT Center for the next installment of “Our Futures” on March 10, 2022 from 6–7 p.m. in the GLBT Center in Talley Student Union, Suite 5230.