GALESBURG — According to their Student Organization page on the Knox College website, “Common Ground is an LGBTQ+ activism club on campus.” They state, “Our main goal is to create a safe environment for students to express their identity freely and to make positive change through open dialogue between students, faculty and the administration. We practice intersectionality, and celebrate all romantic, sexual, and gender identities.”
Leo Goldschmidt , the president of Common Ground elaborated, “Common Ground is not the gay club, just a club that represents people who want to be welcomed by Common Ground. We want to support queer students. Fall term we’re talking about marginalized identities like, trans, lesbian, bi, asexual. Winter term we’re going to talk about queerness and intersection with other identities. We try to be safe space for students, provide good vibes, teach about queer community. Events are a public awareness centered extension of that.”
Goldschimdt also stated that LGBTQ students at Knox in particular, do feel marginalized by gender neutral bathrooms on campus. Common Ground identifies problems like this and tries to solve them. Marin Hart, a fellow student and attendee of Asexulitea, was disheartened and scared by a Knox student performing “the hateful action of stepping on a pride flag”. She said it proved to her that “there is some anti-lgbt sentiment on campus, as there is everywhere.” She said, “Besides that incident, however, I’ve seen nothing but support for the queer community at Knox, from my peers, organizations on campus, and administration, particularly Rain Garant, our lovely LGBT+ advisor. Overall, I feel very supported and heard here.”
Common Ground was hosting the Asexualitea to celebrate Asexuality Awareness in front of the Pride Center because it was Ace Week (Oct. 25-30 this year). As defined by Wikipedia, asexuality is “sexual orientation where there is a lack of sexual attraction to anyone”. I asked Goldschidmt if they felt that there was a particular need for asexuality events and awareness on campus. They say it isn’t particular to Knox Campus, but in general in our society there could be more awareness and acceptance of asexuality of the norm. They said, “Allosexuality, that’s word for people who aren’t asexual, is the norm. As soon as it’s not the norm asexual people can just accept who they are. So many people expect sex out of you.”
Hart, who is on the ace spectrum herself, said that she thinks there is definitely a need for asexuality/aromanticism events on campus. She stated, “In my experience, aromanticism and asexuality are some of the least talked about and well-known sexualities. Being in spaces where asexuality is not known or understood can be very isolating, particularly within queer spaces, and understanding should be the bare minimum for all sexualities: everyone deserves to see their identities actively celebrated.