Speed Dating Event Encourages Queer Connections

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Speed Dating Event Encourages Queer Connections

Sarah Manderbach ’22, Staff Writer

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LGBTQ+ students at Dickinson mingled and talked on Friday night at a “Queered Connections” event to encourage people who “embrace the rainbow” to meet each other, according to the Dickinson College website.

The new event was run by the Office of LGBTQ+ Services as an effort to build an environment that “celebrates our differences and similarities regarding sex, gender identity, gender expression, attraction and behaviors.” Students from all backgrounds and years participated in the event and socialized with peers in five-minute “speed-dating” rounds, as stated on the college website.

Participating students were entered into a raffle for pride-themed prizes. 

Award-winning radio broadcaster and poet Shaashawn Dial, otherwise known as “The Voyce,” according to her website, acted as “mistress of ceremonies” for the night. 

Dial has run training sessions with the Office of LGBTQ+ Services in the past, according to Kenya Bullock ’19, pride events coordinator. 

“Shaashawn is really good at talking to people, [and] making people feel comfortable,” Bullock said.

Bullock said that the event stemmed from the Office of LGBTQ+ Services’ attempts to find creative ways to bring kids on campus who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community together. “My co-pride event coordinator came up with a speed dating idea,” Bullock says. “All of us in the office thought it was a good idea to create Queered Connections. It’s speed dating, but also a way to meet friends so we can build a connection between us all.”

“Erica Lawrence, the director of LGBTQ+ Services, reached out to Shaashawn, the emcee,” said Bullock. “After that, we were given criteria: the date, the time, the place. Karin [Carthins ’19], the other coordinator, and I kind of went with it.”

About 30 students overall participated. Some stayed for the entirety of the event; others came and went as they pleased. 

Students roundly reacted positively to the event. Aidan Pidgeon ’19 said he liked the event. “I was happy to see that more people showed up later on in the evening,” he said.

Rachel Witsch ’21 showed up intending to “meet other people involved with the LGBTQ+ community,” she said, “so I thought that this would be a cool event.” 

 “I got to meet a lot of new people, a lot of people that I never would have met otherwise if I hadn’t come here,” said Witsch. “There were a lot of people that had similarities with me, so it was cool.”