BlacQ Space provides voice for black, queer SDSU students

Founded+by+Shane+James+in+2017%2C+BlacQ+Space+is+the+first+Black%2C+queer+organization+at+San+Diego+State.
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BlacQ Space provides voice for black, queer SDSU students

Founded by Shane James in 2017, BlacQ Space is the first Black, queer organization at San Diego State.

Founded by Shane James in 2017, BlacQ Space is the first Black, queer organization at San Diego State.

Ashley Na

Founded by Shane James in 2017, BlacQ Space is the first Black, queer organization at San Diego State.

Ashley Na

Ashley Na

Founded by Shane James in 2017, BlacQ Space is the first Black, queer organization at San Diego State.

by Ashley Na, Staff Writer

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Founded in 2017, BlacQ Space is the first Black, queer organization at San Diego State.

It was first created by BlacQ Space President Shane James with the assistance of the SDSU Pride Center. 

Having a “Q” in the organization’s name serves as a symbol of it’s queer inclusivity. BlacQ Space is a discussion group and student organization that is dedicated to fostering community dialogue and healing for black sexual identities and gender identities within the LGBTQIA+ umbrella, James said. The group just transitioned into being a recognized student organization last year.

“I created the discussion group because I would just go and talk to (graduate student Myisha Butler about) a lot of my experiences being black and queer and she would talk to me about her experiences of being black and being somewhere on the queer spectrum,” James said. “We realized that we would love for this to be a space other people also had access to. So we started as a discussion group.” 

Despite having a small group to begin with, James was able to view the success of the organization because to them, it wasn’t about the numbers. It was the fact that the group existed and as long as people knew the space was there, James said people can come whenever they are comfortable.

“The Pride Center, being that it is the hub of where we do a lot of our meetings, the different things that we want to do or different partnerships we were thinking about doing, they’ve been really helpful in that aspect, as well as being a financial partner for a lot of the different events that we do,” James said. 

Some of these events included The BlacQ Gay Pride Week which started from Oct. 14 to Oct. 17, with activities such as games nights, panel discussions, movies and even a drag show. James said they hope the club can host the week-long event annually.

“It’s been quite the evolution to getting to us, having a whole week,” James said. “Even from here we’re already thinking of next year, what other things we want to do, how much bigger do we want to make the week and really wanting to somewhere down the line, partner with San Diego pride to have it just as big as San Diego Pride.”

BlacQ Space External Relations Chair Jasmyne Robinson said the organization is planning to collaborate with other organizations like the Student African American Brotherhood and Sisterhood at SDSU this semester. By collaborating with these groups, Robinson wants to work on educating them on how to create safe spaces for African American queer people.  

But this would not be the first of the young group’s collaborations.

“We recently developed a partnership with a company called Rebels and Royals and also the Black LGBTQ Coalition of San Diego,” Covington said.

Robinson said BlacQ Space helped her to come out as a lesbian and to love and embrace herself for who she was during her freshman year. 

The group has had a similar impact on some of its other members.

“After one meeting, (an attendee) wanted to come out to her grandma as someone who was questioning their identity or someone who might want to be a lesbian,” Robinson said. “So I think that was very cool for us to hear that we were able to answer some questions that she had and that she was able to relate to us and find safety in the space to say ‘Hey, I think I might be lesbian.’”

BlacQ Space meets twice a month at the SDSU Pride Center. The next meeting, “Decolonizing Our Anti-Blackness,” will be held on Oct. 24. 

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