Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Our Voices: The Queer Experience

Reflecting on my experience in the LGBTQ+ community
Joey Lorant / Daily Collegian

This year and forever forward, the Massachusetts Daily Collegian has ensured to grant the ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion a status of priority. Part of this referendum is a new collection of columns centered around diverse perspectives. Firstly, I would like to extend the invitation to anyone who would like to participate in these new columns to reach out to the Collegian. This section is brand new, and I can tell you firsthand what an amazing experience writing for the Collegian is.

Secondly, I’d like to introduce myself and this column that I am starting. My name is Zach Leach, I’m a freshman here at the University of Massachusetts, and this is my second semester writing for the Collegian. I have written and plan on continuing to write for the Opinion & Editorial section here. I’m double majoring in social thought and political economy and philosophy and I am on the pre-law concentration. I hope to one day work in either human rights law or family law.

I came to UMass last year from Atlanta, Georgia where I grew up. As you could probably figure out, being queer in the American South is very different than being queer in New England. I feel that having experience being queer in both of these environments gives me a unique perspective on how different “types” of people view the LGBTQ+ community.

This column will focus on queer life and what it means to be queer both in America and as a college student, specifically at UMass. I plan to cover a variety of topics such as homophobia (both external and internalized), the use of labels, society’s expectations for the queer individual, the University’s treatment and accommodations for the queer population and so on.

As stated, this entire section is brand new, and these columns are organized in a way that nobody at the Collegian is accustomed to. That being said, I would be lying if I said I had this column completely figured out or if I already knew all the topics I would be covering. With that, I would like to urge both members of the queer community and allies alike to write in with ideas and comments. My email can be found at the bottom of any of my articles and I would appreciate any feedback. Additionally, if you feel you can offer a unique perspective or simply want to be involved with the column, I would be happy to give you an interview or allow you to write the next instillation of the column.

In no way do I consider myself to be the spokesperson for the queer community or assume everyone within the community shares the same beliefs. I hope to bring awareness to queer issues and grant people a platform where they can share their ideas and connect with those who feel similarly. The continued publication of this column will not be possible without those who read it and take the time to collaborate.

I look forward to writing this column and hearing from those who agree with me or would like to present new ideas. Again, I urge anyone with an interest in writing one of these columns to reach out as I believe there can never be enough platforms for members of marginalized groups to raise their voices and share their concerns. I am in no way an expert and as I am not entirely sure what this column will look like in the coming years, I plan to let it go in the direction in naturally veers.

I would like to thank everyone who takes the time to read or reach out in advance and I am excited to see just where this column will go and what it will eventually look like.

Zach Leach can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @ZachLeach12.

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