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Forging an Inter-Ivy LGBTQ Network

As an openly gay student at Harvard, I have found tremendous personal and professional value with my involvement in LGBTQ student groups like Harvard Undergraduate BGLTQ Business Society and the Queer Students & Allies. Through organizations like these, I have been able to meet fantastic queer friends on campus and participate in programming addressing LGBTQ advocacy and featuring prominent LGBTQ business and political leaders. However, one piece of LGBTQ programming that I hadn’t been able to participate in was the annual IvyQ conference–a yearly gathering of hundreds of LGBTQ college students from all 8 Ivy League universities and various peer institutions. With a diverse coalition of LGBTQ peers, IvyQ serves as a unique chance for students from different campuses to get to know one another and participate in educational workshops regarding various issues impacting the queer community.

Given that I am in my senior year now, I wanted to be sure to take advantage of this amazing opportunity before I graduated. This past weekend, I joined approximately 15 fellow Harvard students and headed down to Yale University for this year’s IvyQ (the conference rotates host schools each year). The Harvard planning committee also prides itself on making the conference as accessible as possible and is able to cover travel to and from the conference, as well as matches you with hosts from the host university. Luckily, I was able to be matched with LGBTQ hosts from Yale that I had known from mutual friends and had visited at the annual Harvard-Yale game. Joining me in their suite as fellow hostees, I also met new friends from the University of Pennsylvania and Dartmouth College that attended conference mixers and watched new episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race with me.


Image of student walking into Ivy conference
Above: Walking into the IvyQ conference center on the first day of programming, clad in Crimson to represent Harvard!

In terms of programming, the conference featured educational workshops on incarcerated LGBTQ populations, poetry and short story writing, HIV prevention, gender diversity, and undocuqueer activism. There was also plenty of time to walk around and explore New Haven! Additionally, the conference featured keynote speakers from prominent LGBTQ advocates Jacob Tobia and Moises Serrano. As a Latino LGBT person, I particularly enjoyed Moises’s speech about his experience as an undocumented LGBTQ person of color and the particular need for self-care in terms of mental health within those communities.


Image of speech at IvyQ conference
Above: Moises Serrano gives a speech at IvyQ detailing the mental health strain that is not often discussed with his immigration advocacy.

While the end of the conference was a tad bittersweet because I knew it would be my first and last IvyQ Conference, I also felt incredibly connected to my broader cohort of LGBTQ friends and happy with the connections I had made. As I plan to head out into the working world after graduation, I’m very excited to continue forging this warm, diverse network of supportive LGBTQ friends and mentors.

 

About the author

Hey everyone! My name is David, and I’m a senior in Pforzheimer House. I’m studying Government with a secondary field in Economics. I hail from the sunny Los Angeles metro area and am happy to rep... View full profile

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