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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Get Interested: Q & A House

<itor’s note: Get Interested is a weekly feature on different interest houses.

One of the less publicized interest houses on campus, Q & A house, or the house of queers and allies, provides a welcoming alternative to both members of the LGBTQ community and their allies.

The house’s connection with the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) has made it one of the most consistent and long-standing interest houses at Carleton.

In contrast to interest houses that focus on providing weekly campus wide activities, members of Q & A house tend to emphasize the house’s role in making a safe place available for the Carleton LGBT community.

However, Q & A house does host several themed dances each year as well as a cooking/baking night and a movie night. All students are welcome to these activities. The next Q & A house event will most likely occur during winter term, and students are urged to keep an eye out for advertisements.

A common misconception and occasional deterrent to involvement in Q & A house activities is that everyone living there identifies as gay/queer or that only queers are welcome to live in Q & A. In fact, this is far from the truth, as people of all sexual orientations are welcome to apply to live in Q & A as well as participate in the house’s activities. Of the eight current residents, two identify as straight allies.

“I’ve heard of multiple people who are planning to live with their freshman roommates heading into sophomore and are hoping to move into Q & A,” said three year resident Megan Mitchell ’10. “However, often if their roommate does not identify as gay, they are nervous to move into Q & A. There is a fear that others will confuse their sexual orientation simply because of where they live.”

Members of Q & A house also revealed they often witness further misconceptions over whether the house community is affected by dating within the house. According to Mitchell, there tend to be very few in-house relationships and living in Q & A is about “feeling ease and comfort in a community where your choice of partner is viewed as totally normal.”

Thus, instead of having to constantly answer questions about same-sex relationships or educate people about what it means to be queer, Q & A house residents are able to come home to a community that is not surprised or confused by their sexuality.

While the house does provide a comfortable, judgment-free space, the house community also emphasizes the importance of discussion and an openness to those trying to understand what it means to identify as homosexual or be in the process of coming to terms with one’s own sexuality.

Indeed a great part of the role of Q & A house on campus is education. For example, during queer movie night, they host screenings of films relating to stories of people who identify with the LGBTQ community.

Additionally, as a branch of the GSC, Q & A is partially responsible for supporting the growth of the Carleton LGBTQ community.

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