By Vivienne Chen ’14
A team of 12 Princeton students led a successful bid to host this year’s IvyQ conference, the largest pan-Ivy-League LGBT student symposium. From Feb. 6-9, the conference made its first visit to Princeton, drawing approximately 350 students from all eight Ivy League universities and other colleges, including New York University, Emory, Georgetown, and the University of Michigan.
Now in its fifth year, IvyQ began at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010 and features a variety of workshops, speakers, and networking events for LGBT student activists.
“We wanted to ride the momentum from the Every Voice LGBT alumni conference last year,” said conference vice-chair Ronan O’Brien ’16 on how Princeton won the bid. “We had to demonstrate that Princeton was a good place to have IvyQ.”
Members of Princeton’s team said they wanted to include a more diverse set of speakers than the conference had seen in past years. “We wanted to shift the focus to voices that have been ignored in mainstream LGBTQ politics,” said conference co-chair Tzu-Yung Huang ’15. “IvyQ is by definition rather elitist, and it comes with a certain level of privilege. We wanted to use this privilege to focus on what is affecting the most queer people around the world, not just the issues that are of most concern to the upper middle class.”
Co-chair Ozioma Obi-Onuoha ’16 helped invite a range of speakers who focused on topics like asexuality, the prison-industrial complex, HIV criminalization, and working with religious communities. Notably, the speaker selection leaned heavily toward self-identified queer and transgender people of color.