Thursday, June 17, 2021

A Group photo of the members of Queer Liberation Front

The University of Iowa’s first LGBTQ+ student organization changes its name from Spectrum UI to Queer Liberation Front, honoring the history of the organization. The organization was founded under the name Gay Liberation Front in 1970. 

“We were talking about what our organization had become, where we've been, and we really wanted to just radicalize you know, really step things up, and pay homage to what we once were,” President of Queer Liberation Front Simon Reichel said, “so from Gay Liberation Front, all the way back to Queer Liberation Front.”

Queer Liberation Front has a vast history at the University of Iowa. It is the first LGBTQ+ student organization officially recognized in the United States. Additionally, the organization has taken on many names throughout the years. In the late 1970s, the organization changed its name to Gay Peoples Union. In 1993 it changed to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual People's Union, and later to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Union.

For the next year, Queer Liberation Front wants to focus on increasing diversity in the group. Reichel explained that he wants the group to have discussions on intersectionality and recruit members that bring new perspectives to the group. 

“I want to work on diversity and inclusion, I want to work on unity, and I want to work on community growing,” said Reichel. 

Queer Liberation Front meets weekly in the Pride Alliance Center or the Iowa Memorial Union. Meetings are often discussion-based. Meeting topics in the past include queer history, queer celebrities, queer fashion, and language. Their meetings provide a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community on campus. 

“I knew that the University of Iowa had a really big, like queer community through [Queer Liberation Front] and other organizations. So that made me really excited,” Reichel recalled, “They all just kind of really took us in, and really made us feel super welcome.”