A recently-founded student organization is aiming to create space for those who feel out of place in predominantly white queer communities at the University of Wisconsin.
Queer and Trans People of Color, also known as QTPOC, was conceived when a group of friends began sharing their experiences as queer and trans people of color, UW student and QTPOC co-founder Daniel Sanji said.
“A lot of the other founding members and myself are friends who have a mutual experience of not feeling like we could access some of the resources here on campus for queer and trans students because we saw that they were majority white and catered to a majority white audience,” Sanji said.
Crossroads director Tiffany Lee also helped form QTPOC, Sanji said. Crossroads is a collaboration between UW’s Multicultural Student center and UW’s Gender and Sexuality Campus Center for queer and trans people of color.
While Crossroads is a university initiative, QTPOC is the first student organization of its kind at UW, Sanji said.
Sanji said QTPOC hopes to bring in guest speakers, as well as host regular meetings and discussions as part of its programming. For the past few months, QTPOC has been mainly focused on the process of becoming a registered student organization and reflecting on the mission of the group.
“We understand that even with the narrow focus on queer and trans people of color, there are important cultural differences,” Sanji said. “Reaching out to Black, African American and Latinx, Native American or Indigenous, as well as Middle Eastern, Asian American students, was really important, so quite a broad coalition of queer and trans people of color are involved.”
Often, institutions will conflate queer and trans people, or be ignorant of the experience of queer and trans people of color. UW can support queer and trans people of color by supporting initiatives that recognize the two identities’ intersectionality, Sanji said.
The group’s kick-off meeting is on Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. at the Red Gym.