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Discussion seeks to facilitate LGBTQ inclusion

| Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Gender Relations Center (GRC) will host a drop-in discussion entitled “My Home Under the Dome” today from 5:45 to 7:15 p.m. in the Coalition Lounge in LaFortune Student Center. Assistant director for LGBTQ student concerns Maureen McKenney said this event aims to facilitate conversations about belonging and providing a safe space on campus.

“My Home Under the Dome” is designed to help students, especially those who identify as LGBTQ, feel more comfortable at Notre Dame and realize they are also vital members of this campus, she said.

“The drop-in discussion groups are particularly geared towards LGBTQ and ally students who are interested in engaging in conversations about ways in which LGBTQ and ally students find their place within our campus community,” McKenney said.

The GRC website states the drop-in discussion will tackle reflective questions about how new relationships can be cultivated around campus and how students can find their place within the Notre Dame community.

McKenney said the GRC hosts monthly drop-in discussion groups with Campus Ministry and the University Counseling Center. Although many discussions are aimed at LGBTQ students and allies, all members of the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross community are welcome, she said.

“The discussions themselves are facilitated by staff members from Campus Ministry and UCC, but are truly driven by the students who attend,” McKenney said.

“My Home Under the Dome” will provide the opportunity for students to open up during a casual dinner environment about their personal experiences at Notre Dame and any concerns they have had, she said.

“The hope of our monthly drop-in discussion groups is to provide a more informal space for students to come together, break bread, and talk about different topics that impact them as LGBTQ and ally students here at Notre Dame,” she said. “While the specific topic changes month-to-month, it is important to provide a space where students are able to share their authentic selves and connect with one another in a genuine way.”

McKenney said the GRC’s monthly discussion groups started last year when LGBTQ members and allies demonstrated interest in informal, noncommittal community events. She said these conversations offer a safe space and judgement-free zone for students to talk about issues relevant to them.

“Ideally, LGBTQ and ally students who come to one of our drop-in discussion groups find a place where they can share a bit about themselves, meet some new people and connect with others who may have similar lived experiences, all while enjoying a good meal together,” McKenney said.

McKenney said that the casual nature of a “drop-in” group leaves it up to the student to decide how long or how much of the conversation he or she would want to take part in.

“Our drop-in discussion groups happen once a month throughout the academic year,” McKenney said. “Students should feel free to come for any portion of the event — the ability to stop by for 15 minutes, or stay for the full hour and a half, is one of the perks of a drop-in group.”

For more information on this and other upcoming LGBTQ and ally events, contact Maureen McKenney at mmckenney@nd.edu

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About Selena Ponio

Selena Ponio is from Dallas, Texas and is currently a senior at the University of Notre Dame. She is the Associate News Editor for The Observer. Selena lives in Breen-Phillips hall and is majoring in International Economics with a concentration in Spanish and is minoring in Journalism, Ethics & Democracy.

Contact Selena