The McMaster Students Union Queer Students Community Centre may see big changes in the coming school year if incoming coordinator, Miranda Clayton, has her way. Clayton, who plans on implementing new programming and potentially change the physical layout of the space, hopes to bring the QSCC to the quality of other MSU peer support services on campus.
“The QSCC hasn’t felt like home to queer and trans students for a really long time. I’ve been at Mac for quite a while even though I’ve been out as bisexual on campus for several years, I have never actually felt comfortable accessing a service,” said Clayton.
Clayton, whose term as QSCC coordinator officially began on March 1, has been circulating a survey to LGBTQ+ students in order to see what specific needs the McMaster LGBTQ+ community has.
The survey, which asks students to describe their past experiences with the QSCC and what programming they would like to see, aims to make sure all identities may see their preferred programming and systems of support offered by the QSCC.
“The QSCC is one of the older services. It’s been around for a number of years under different names and it really needs to match the quality of the rest of the peer support services that have sprung up now.”
Queer Students Community Centre
“It’s kind of a common issue in the queer and trans community that conversations become focused on one particular experience, but there isn’t very much use to run programming that only appeals, to say, [cisgender], white, male gays,” she said.
“The thing with the LGBTQ+ community is that it’s really diverse. A lot of people have very different needs. They want to see different things happen and they want to be supported in different ways,” Clayton added.
Although the survey is by no means complete, Clayton has already begun to receive a swath of responses and has already identified some major programming the QSCC will work to offer in the coming months.
Through Clayton’s preliminary research, she has found a growing need for support groups for bisexual students and programming for those who are currently questioning their sexual or gender identity.
According to the data Clayton has received so far, many students currently questioning their identities feel that the QSCC is only for those who know for sure, and others have identified that programming would have helped them arrive to a conclusion concerning their identity earlier had they explored it within the context of a service like the QSCC.
Clayton highlighted the importance of QSCC as a peer support service, especially with the rise of other peer support services such as Maccess and the Women and Gender Equity Network.
“The QSCC is one of the older services. It’s been around for a number of years under different names and it really needs to match the quality of the rest of the peer support services that have sprung up now,” she said.
In addition to adding new programming, Clayton also hopes to change some of the physical barriers students may have while trying to use the QSCC space. One of Clayton’s top priorities is cleaning up the space to ensure that it is accessible to those who use mobility devices.
“I actually have a friend who’s been out for a long time but couldn’t access to space because their wheelchair couldn’t fit into the space,” Clayton noted.
The QSCC space, which is located in the McMaster University Student Centre, room 221, is often considered isolated from the rest of the building.
Clayton plans on changing the basic layout of the space to make it more inviting by switching the main door and side door, which Clayton believes will make the space more welcoming for students. Clayton also plans on defrosting the glass of the windows in the QSCC space.
For anyone interested in contributing to Clayton’s survey, it will remain open for the coming weeks.