Q: What is Q&A?
A: Q&A, shorthand for Queer in Action, is The Michigan Daily’s first section devoted exclusively to members of the LGBTQ community. This independent section is a space for those at the University associating with a queer identity to share their stories and experiences.

Q: Why is this section being created?
A: We believe that the narratives, experiences and oppressions faced in the LGBTQ community are frequently minimized and overshadowed by the heteronormative and cisnormative standards. We want those with a queer identity to speak up and share their stories related to whatever shapes and exists from sexuality and gender.

We want to emphasize that this space is intentionally designed to be safe for all contributors because we want you to feel comfortable sharing your stories. Topics surrounding sexuality, gender and homophobia can sometimes be uncomfortable to discuss in daily life, but we encourage you to overcome those fears in this space. We want you to be honest, confident and candid about the thoughts in your mind and experiences on your heart.

Q: Why is this section called Q&A?
A: Q&A serves as a relevant acronym for this space because a queer person’s sexuality can require a variety of answers to multiple questions. Our culture structures sexuality by creating strict categories like gay, lesbian and bisexual. For some, sexuality (and gender) is much more complicated than checking off one of these boxes. So in these articles, besides sharing personal stories, we hope that this space serves to spotlight and answer questions surrounding the nuances of each person’s sexuality (or gender). Possible questions include but are not limited to:

– What sexual category do I closest identify with?
– What similarities and differences exist between myself and the stigmas associated with my sexual or non-cisgender identity?
– How do my gender and sexuality interact in forming who I am as a person?
– What specific experiences or oppressions come from my queer identity?

We hope that, in addition to recanting stories and revealing oppression, this space will serve as a vessel to spark conversations and discussions regarding sexuality and gender.

Q: You’ve used the words “queer,” “heteronormative” and “cisgender,” and I don’t understand at least one of those terms. Am I going to be able to understand content from this section?
A: Good question! First, not all articles will use this complex language, but we’ve prepared materials to help you if you’re confused. We’ve created an online catalogue of important terms, the “LGBT A-Z Dictionary,” found on The Michigan Daily website. We hope this helps everyone feel competent in understanding our content, regardless of your prior knowledge on these topics. Besides straightforward definitions, we provide as much relevant information about each term, and we’ll continue updating the dictionary as necessary. We hope you refer back to this catalogue as much as you need.

Q: Can I write for Q&A?
A: That depends. If you identify as gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, asexual, pansexual or demisexual, then you definitely can. If you claim your identity as queer, most likely you can and you should e-mail us if you’re concerned.

While we love ally support, this space is designed primarily for queer-identifying people to contribute content. The best way for allies to contribute is to read articles, share ones you love and spread awareness for this space. That alone serves as a contribution to this section.

Q: What can I write for Q&A?
A: Whatever is related to your personal story. We at Q&A don’t want to constrict what your contributions can be, much like we don’t want to place strict categories on what your sexuality might be. All we ask is that you include your personal experiences, be as candid as possible and develop some overarching theme or idea in your piece. Please e-mail us with your ideas for a story, and we’ll work with you from there.

Q: Can I contribute on a more frequent basis?
A: Yes! Absolutely! We’re looking to hire consistent contributors, and it will come with some perks. If interested, e-mail us and we’ll send you an application and answer any questions that you might have.

Now, without further ado, I’d like you all to meet the founding editors for Queer in Action:

I’m Michael Schramm, a columnist for The Michigan Daily. I’ll be leading this section as the first Q&A editor. As a gay man, I believe this space is so crucial for queer members, as there aren’t many available spaces for us to share our stories and narratives. I’m looking forward to the dialogues, empowerment and catharsis that this space will provide.

I’m Ryan Freeland, a junior studying in International Studies, focusing on global health. I identify as pansexual. I’m interested in being an editor for this blog because the queer community is still marginalized on campus. I feel this blog will allow for stories to be heard and create a new kind of movement on campus.

I’m Lita Brillman, a sophomore studying women’s studies, a feminist and longtime bisexual. I’m stoked to do my part in elevating marginalized voices on campus, and look forward to reading and connecting with stories of other queer Wolverines. I hope that we can all work to make this an inclusive space to all identities that may intersect with queerness, and represent a broad perspective of the Michigan queer community.

I’m Kastriot Osmani, an international freshman. I’m from Kosova (a country in Europe), and I am interested in making this a space where people feel comfortable sharing their experiences and stories, without a fear of judgment or negativity. As someone who has lived in various countries, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa, I have seen various forms of anti-queer discrimination, and while the University has a much more accepting and liberal climate, I still feel that there’s a long way to go, and that this blog can be a catalyst for change. I’m looking forward to hearing all of your wonderful stories!

That’s all for our first Q&A. But before we go, we’d like to give a special shout-out to another Michigan Daily section: Michigan in Color. MiC, thanks for being the first section to create a place for a marginalized group. Your space’s success has undoubtedly aided our space’s creation, and for that, we are sincerely thankful. We look forward to seeing your section continue this semester, and we hope that you’ll take a peek at some of our content as well.

Now, it’s time for your Q&A (but don’t feel the need to follow this question and answer format). It’s time for the world to hear your stories and experiences with sexuality and gender.

Those interested in contributing content to Queer in Action can contact the editors at mschramm@umich.edu

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