Resi Queer surges as a small project thought out by Edrimael Delgado, Jorge Mercado, and Carlos Javier Herrarte, former residents of the on-campus dorms of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. “Hurricane Maria had just happened, we were back at the dorm…”, pointed out, one of the founders, Edrimael Delgado. They explained that they had been talking more about their lives and their experiences, sharing with other residents at random gatherings; until one day they started to imagine a space, like their gatherings, where they can share their life experiences. Jorge Mercado, a former alumnus, and co-founder, often points out that it wasn’t a serious thought, it started out as a joke, “a friendship thing” until they were conscious of the need for a safe space for those of the community in the residence.
It started out as an exclusive group, only the residents knew about it. Their bonding grew and so did the space, people began to participate in their activities and meetings. By the start of the second semester of the 2017-2018 academic year, they had an incredible amount of participants. They took advantage of the activities that went on in the island to get recognized (such as May 1st and Pride).
When I asked what their individual inspirations were, former president, Jason Domenech replied “I have admitted that I wasn’t very involved in the organization’s upbringing, that was until I realized that there was a bigger need for support for people. I’m from Caguas where the ambiance is a bit less conservative and the LGBTQ+ community is kind of accepted, but I saw that not everyone had this experience and decided to be more involved in the group”. Amongst their inspirations exists the knowledge that there are not enough spaces designed to support those of the spectrum and homophobia is very present in our society. “I’m the type of person that doesn’t get knocked down easily, someone says something to me, I ignore it. I have that capacity… in part, I wanted to offer a service where we came up with strategies to combat any phobia towards the spectrum, where we get the support we need. Further than an individual inspiration to accept myself, I wanted my experiences to be shared so others didn’t feel alone”, expressed Edrimael Delgado.
After a year of running the group, it is safe to say its reach has grown impressively. They’ve participated with external organizations such as Concra, el Centro LGBT+, Diversxs and the launch of Brinca Verja.
As a motivational message, they want no one to be afraid to explore their sexuality, only if and when they feel comfortable. To those that are “in the closet”, it’s a slow process and they’re aware of that, but they want everyone to feel comfortable with their own sexual orientation and gender identification. To those that do not consider themselves part of the spectrum, you can be an ally, and remember to make everyone aware of the LGBTQ+ community. Spread the love!