Dozens of members of SF State’s LGBTQ+ community celebrated Queer Homecoming in the Mashouf Wellness Center’s MAC gym Friday night. Queer Homecoming is hosted by EGAY, an organization at SF State dedicated to discussing queer-related topics and current events and providing a safe space and advice for anyone who needs it.
This is EGAY’s second annual Queer Homecoming. The organization has been preparing for the dance since the start of the semester.
EGAY hosts other inclusive events, such as an annual drag show that has taken place on SF State’s campus for the past 13 years.
Other inclusive SF State identity organizations tabled during the dance, including Waves at SFSU. Waves at SFSU is a new Asian American club devoted to creating a safe space for Pacific Islander and Asian American students.
Nate Takatsuka, member of Waves at SFSU, has been collaborating with EGAY for Queer Homecoming. Takatsuka was excited about the event because it celebrated more than just a formal dance to attend.
“This is similar to a high school homecoming, you know,” Takatsuka said. “[Underrepresented communities] didn’t get to experience it. Here, we give them a safe space and a nice, safe community for everybody.”
Mashouf’s MAC gym was transformed for Queer Homecoming. What once was an open gym with shiny, hardwood floors and basketball hoops, now had a blue floor with balloons laid across it. Students were able to enjoy a photo booth, pizza and tarot card readings during the dance.
Last year, Queer Homecoming didn’t have any homecoming royalty. This year, Queer Homecoming does homecoming royalty a little differently. Instead of voting on people to become kings or queens, there is a contest to compete in, and its two winners are then announced so as not to make becoming royalty a popularity contest.
Queer Homecoming combats the heteronormative connotation of the word “homecoming” by inviting communities that have been under or misrepresented in typical cisgender and straight dance culture.
“Making it Queer Homecoming and not just a general homecoming is part of what makes it so important,” said president of EGAY Tiphaney Coles. “We decided to have one in the first place because, historically, LGBTQ+ people have been excluded from these kinds of events, and I think it’s important to say like, ‘Hey, you’re welcome at these events now.’”
As guests arrived at Queer Homecoming, they were excited by the broad spectrum of communities it helps support.
Joe Grossblatt and Kayla Ybarra-Martinez, freshmen, attended Queer Homecoming for the first time Friday night, and are excited to meet other students like them.
“I think it helps the queer community especially because the LGBT community is a minority, and sometimes it can hard to meet other LGBT students,” Grossblatt said. “It’s a good event where you can meet other LGBT students.”
Ybarra-Martinez said, “I think events like these are safe spaces. I just feel like I can be myself.”