UMN safe space only for 'same-gender-loving people of color'

The University of Minnesota offers a program called “Tongues Untied” that is reserved exclusively for “People of Color who identify as LGBTQIA and/or Same-Gender-Loving.”

According to the university’s website, “the group serves to connect students, staff, faculty, and the Twin Cities community by holding discussion groups that focus on how race, sexuality, and gender impact our lived experiences.”

Specifically, the program involves “social and educational gatherings for U of M students,” “discussions and panels for local public school Gay-Straight Alliances,” and collaborations with “local community organizations of color.”

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The website makes very clear that “Tongues Untied” is not intended for white and/or straight students, posting a disclaimer stating, “For our allies: we do appreciate your voices and commitment to dismantling racism and homophobia; however, please note that this is a space created for LGBTQIA and/or same-gender-loving people of color.”

The University of Minnesota is a public, four-year university, and Tongues Untied is run by the school’s “Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life.”

“Tongues Untied (TU) is a space that was created by and for indigenous people and people of color who identify as queer and/or trans,” the group’s Facebook page states, adding, “If you identify as a queer and/or trans indigenous person or person of color, we welcome you to take part in our discussions.”

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Campus Reform reached out to Tongues Untied to determine who was eligible to attend the group’s meetings. “Tongues Untied is a space that was created by and for indigenous people and people of color who identify as queer and/or trans,” a representative of Tongues Untied told Campus Reform.

A promotional video for Tongues Untied is available on the Office for Equity & Diversity’s YouTube channel, in which Jason Jackson, a Student Services Professional at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, describes the program as “a discussion group for transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, same-gender loving, and two-spirit people of color.”

Raynise, a 2014 graduate of Macalester College, adds that “we have a very small amount of students of color and then, like, as I told so many people on our campus, like, asking for those students of color to be queer, is like, kind of asking for, like, a miracle.”

Campus Reform reached out to the Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life, and is currently awaiting a reply. This article will be updated if and when a statement is provided.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @rMitchellGunter