To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Nicholas Ong ’23 has created a welcome space for queer and trans people of color

The Queer and Trans People of Color Coalition (QTPOCC) is creating a center for queer and trans people of color on this campus, a space that has not prevously existed, according to founder Nicholas Ong ’23. This new club started on Sept. 25 and plans to get more active throughout the rest of the year. 


“The intersection of being queer and a person of color is tremendous,” said Ong in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot. “Our experiences within that intersection double our inability to feel welcome, and having that space acknowledges the fact that we deserve to be seen, that we deserve to have people on this campus that care about our experiences.” 


Ong acknowledged that there are other organizations on campus—like the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC)—that meet some of these needs, but he emphasized that the intersectionality of it is the most important aspect of the new club. This refers to that intersection Ong mentioned, in stating that while there are spaces for queer people and spaces for peope of color, it is still possible for an individual to feel isolated because they have multiple, overlapping identities. Ong recalled attending events and feeling this type of struggle. “In the queer spaces I’m often in [at Brandeis], I find myself being the only person of color, and I bet a lot of folks relate to that,” he said. 


With QTPOCC, Ong wants to create a welcoming space for himself, and for those experiencing the same struggles as he is. “Our voices are often the most unheard on this campus, but there are so many of us! We all kinda float around, we don’t really have that one space that brings us together, and this will finally be this one space.” 


That doesn’t mean that only queer and trans people of color can join this club, though. Ong hopes to hold many events throughout the year, and he encourages allies to come and learn at these events. “White queer people or allies are encouraged to spread the word and come to any events to learn, to take what we’ve taught you and understand us more fully.” He says that QTPOCC is a club that will emphasize education. “It’s not exclusive, I don’t want it to be somewhere where people are unwelcomed. We’ve been unwelcomed in enough other spaces; it’s not our place to make others feel uncomfortable. Moving forward, there may be some events that will be specifically tailored to queer and trans people of color—because sometimes we need that space—but mostly there will be events that will be meant for everybody to come and learn, and witness queer joy.”


Helping Ong run the club are Julian Meraz ’22, Amy Schroder ’23, Audrey Sequiera ’24, Vidisha Jha ’23, Dalen Weathersby ’23, Jaquelyn Morales ’23, Ellis Huang ’23 and Kyla-Yen Giffin ’23. 


Ong says he is excited to see the future impact of QTPOCC and that he hopes the club will be around long after he graduates. “I wanna see beautiful events happen. I wanna see a room full of happy, joyfull queer and trans people and color. A room that just focuses on their joy. I want it to be a forever thing.”


To learn more about QTPOCC, follow the club on Instagram, @qtpocc_brandeis


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