This entire week we’ve seen so many conversations about consent occurring around UCLA for our second annual Consent Week, organized by 7000 in Solidarity. As each day is focused on a group that is normally left out of consent conversations, Thursday, January 22nd, was specifically focused on discussion within the LGBT communities. Chrissy Keenan, Co-Director of the Bruin Consent Coalition, spoke about the importance of the event as “LGBT communities are not typically addressed in conversations about consent and sexual violence,” and, when they are addressed, the conversations tend to “come from a heteronormative perspective.”
The Consent Conversations in The Queer Community event was held in UCLA’s LGBT Campus Resource Center and focused on how to address consent in positive ways. It started off with addressing what people think of when they hear the word ‘consent’. The issue of consent manifests itself in many different ways during daily life so it is inevitable that people will view the term differently. Coming to an understanding of what exactly consent means and how it’s not just reserved for bedroom chats is part of making discussion of it more commonplace and less daunting.
A big concern was how to bring up consent issues in different types of relationships. Whether one is in a short or long-term relationship, consent is something that must constantly be addressed. While many people think of consent as purely the consent all parties need to agree to before engaging in any type of sexual activity, for the queer community consent over how public to make a relationship is just as important, as many queer people face potential violence when they come out.
The hard part, it seems, is getting around the awkwardness of addressing these issues. Few people want to put themselves out there emotionally for fear of being rejected or dismissed, but a healthy relationship cannot exist without addressing such issues.
The conversation also addressed the issue of street harassment and online harassment faced by queer individuals and how to actively address and combat these issues without victim blaming. The event ended with a call to continue these types of discussions within UCLA’s queer community. LGBT Campus Resource Center hosts many events weekly in which to discuss related issues such as Queer Chats on Tuesdays from 12-1 PM and Womxn’s Wednesdays from 12-1 PM.