Approximately 100 Yale students and 250 students from 25 other universities gathered on campus last weekend for the annual IvyQ conference, led by members of the board of the LGBTQ Student Cooperative at Yale.

The four-day conference — which centered on the theme “Creating Queer Futures” — kicked off with spoken word performances by members of Voke, a writing group affiliated with Yale’s LGBTQ Co-op, and an open-mike session that allowed attendees to showcase their talents. The conference featured panels and lectures with titles such as “Queer Health,” “Pride and Poetry” and “Q’nnections: Bisexuality & Pansexuality.” A keynote speech by Moises Serrano, titled “Queer and Undocumented,” closed the conference.

“[The] other co-chairs and I thought it was crucial that we emphasize intersectionality and the relevance of issues which aren’t explicitly queer,” IvyQ co-chair Kyle Ranieri ’18 said in regard to the keynote address.

Ranieri said the conference’s theme was inspired partly by the new presidential administration, as well as other worldwide events. The theme was designed to shift focus from the current harsh political realities for the LGBTQ community to a vision of “solace, hope and inspiration” for the community’s future, he said. In the conference’s welcome letter, however, the co-chairs emphasized the importance of making the conference’s vision a reality, rather than “solely an escape.”

“‘Creating Queer Futures’ is also a present action, one to be done in the presence of our peers, as well as those who negate our existence,” the co-chairs wrote. “In these two ways of transcendence and action we envisioned this year’s IvyQ to serve as a resource for our community.”

Ranieri praised the speakers at the conference for challenging attendees to think more critically about identity and political issues and said he felt the conference provided a beneficial space for LGBTQ college students to gather and offer mutual support.

Chayton Pabich ’21 said he agreed with Ranieri’s sentiments but added that he would have liked to see workshops spanning a broader range of issues. Alexis Cook ’21 said she had reservations about the conference but ultimately attended a few interesting workshops, she said.

Both Pabich and Cook agreed that while they had criticisms of the conference, it succeeded in fostering solidarity among members of the LGBTQ community.

The first IvyQ conference took place in 2010.

Natalie Wright |