In a city with just one Queer bar and less than a handful of LGBTQ+ organizations, Eugene lacks the expansive Queer community, resources, and spaces that our brethren in Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle have to offer.
With this lack of Queer spaces and physical representations of community, Seth—a graduate student at the University of Oregon School of Education—realized that there was a need for further community organization and visibility. So, they founded Queer Eugene alongside their friend Trystan — who serves as both co-founder and developer.
Queer Eugene is a comprehensive web-based organization linking Queer resources—such as healthcare and mental health services—Queer-owned, led, or supportive business, events, and general services.
Alongside resources, Queer Eugene has begun to offer in-real-life services such as clothing swaps — for homebodies they offer movie nights hosted virtually via Discord. Despite this organization being in its infancy, Seth is hopeful and sure of its long-term success and growth.
“The long-term goal is to have a building, to open a community center where people can hang out, access services, [and] build a community,” they said. “I want a space that is safe for Queer youth, for there to be more services for Queer youth.”
Seth also stressed the importance of coalition building. When thinking of the future of Eugene’s—and Oregon at-large—Queer community, all members of the community must be taken into consideration — Queer disabled, houseless, working-class, etc.
While this brighter future grows, so does their foundation. Going forward, Queer Eugene plans on organizing and hosting more events such as Drag Brunches and support groups. While they further expand the directory of resources in order to fill the “gaps” of Queer healthcare, they help Queer Oregonians navigate spaces. Queer Eugene works towards instilling a tangible sense of community.
Community members, themselves, can provide resources to their directory, volunteer their time and resources in community building, and support the businesses listed.
Queer liberation and community buildings are one and the same. For Queer life to flourish, there must be a community for it to call home. And that is what Queer Eugene is doing, laying the foundation of a resilient, liberated, flourishing Queer Eugene.
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