In a campus setting, individuals are bound to have different ideas, opinions and identities. The University of Idaho LGBTQA office in the Student Diversity Center attempts to bring different groups together by hosting events that can help students feel welcome to express themselves. Lavender Lunches, held on a weekly basis, is one of those events.
The event is hosted by the LGBTQA office from 12:30-1:30 p.m. every Thursday in the Student Diversity Center, TLC 229.
The LGBTQA Office offers a free meal to anyone who comes to the lunch or participants are welcome to bring their own.
“It’s a weekly program open to anyone who wants to come. We provide a meal in a safe place where everyone can talk about LGBTQA issues and hangout,” said Julia Keleher, LGBTQA office coordinator.
Every third Thursday of the month, the LGBTQA Office brings a guest speaker to the luncheons. The speakers usually share an experience or talk about an issue that is LGBTQA related.
“Normally, we try to pick locals who are LGBTQA or allies,” Keleher said.
Keleher said they can be people from UI, the Moscow community and Washington State University.
“It provides opportunities for folks to learn more about LGBT issues but also it’s a good place to just kind of unwind and relax,” Keleher said.
Keleher said Lavender Lunches has been around many years and that her predecessor in the LGBTQA office came up with the idea.
“I think they’re fun, it’s really laid back. It’s a fun time to just get together and eat lunch and talk about what’s going,” said Kassandra Withrow, a UI student who has attended all the Lavender Lunches so far this year.
Withrow said the lunches are a place that gives people a chance to get out there and talk to people in a comfortable setting.
“You don’t have to participate if you don’t want, you can just listen in,” Withrow said.
Keleher said she encourages anyone to stop by and check it out, and everyone is welcome.
“I think that for LGBT folks particularly, sometimes we have trouble finding safe spaces in our society where oppression, prejudice and homophobia sometimes make us feel uncomfortable,” Keleher said. “This is a space where you can come and be yourself.”
Iris Alatorre can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org