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Queer Caucus starts conversations with 'Let's Talk About Love' event

Even though Valentine's Day has passed, Queer Caucus recently hosted its "Let's Talk about Love Event" at the Douglass Student Center to continue spreading awareness about healthy relationships. – Photo by Evan Leong

Throughout February, Queer Caucus, the governing body for LGBTQ+ organizations at Rutgers—New Brunswick, celebrated all forms of love, whether platonic or romantic. Last Wednesday at the Douglass Student Center, the organization hosted "Let's Talk About Love," an event that invited visitors to discuss all things love and relationships. 

The occasion featured Rutgers' Health Outreach Promotion & Education (HOPE), which aims to promote overall wellness. 

Upon entrance, attendees were greeted by today's hits softly floating through the speakers and a table of free safe sex gear to the left of the entrance. In the back of the room were goodie bag supplies and an assortment of sweet treats accompanied by beverages.

The opening activity entailed participants ranking attributes they prioritize in people. Some examples included intelligence, humor, being liked by parents and being a good listener. Attributes differed among participants and even between attendees who were already friends. 

"What I wanted for people to take away from this event specifically was a little bit of self-recognition and what their goals and perception of what they're looking for in their relationships (are)," said Jonathan Julian, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore and HOPE member. "If that relationship is a sexual relationship, a friend relationship, a romantic relationship or even a family relationship, there's lots of things that we can improve upon just by recognizing what we want and need from them."

Following the ranking activity, an interactive presentation highlighting signs of both healthy and toxic relationships was held. 

The floor was open to attendee input, which led to diverse conversations. During the insightful discussion, guests referred to experiences in LGBTQ+ relationships and friendships to articulate telltale markers of unhealthy connections. While the discussion was brief, it successfully summarized the goals of the night: discourse and inclusivity. 

Eliaser Aguirre, a School of Arts and Sciences senior and Queer Caucus representative, shared a few words about the joys of providing a space for LGBTQ+ individuals.

"We understand that there's so many different types of queer people that exist, and we want to throw a variety of different events to cater to all of them," Aguirre said. "After each event, I feel like I know everybody in the room 10 percent more. I see them out in the world and I'm, like, wait, 'I've had at least one really nice conversation with you,' and that brings a smile to my face."

After the presentation, organizers transitioned to the last portion of the event, where guests were welcome to assemble goodie bags. Copious amounts of candies, mini teddy bears and cards for loved ones were available as bag-stuffers. While the last portion of the event consisted of the most mingling, it was also a time to sit alone and reflect.

For students in the throes of midterm season, self-care can be reduced to an afterthought. Events such as "Let's Talk About Love" serve as a reminder that all variations of relationships are deserving of celebration, especially the relationship a person has with themself.     

"Well, what is life without being loving of yourself, right? I don't want to live a life where I'm unloving of myself, because I want to recognize my accomplishments," said Julian when asked about the importance of self-love. "I feel like I've done so much, and being able to recognize that is just the first step into having a beautiful and happy life. That's why it's so important."

As Valentine's Day slowly fades into the rearview, it's vital to bear in mind that love is not exclusive to February. Love, in its unique forms of expression and experience, deserves to be celebrated year-round. 

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