• The Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, Queer, and Ally (LBGTQA) Community Leadership Provincetown Retreat celebrated its 10th anniversary on Sept. 28. The retreat offered students a chance to get away from campus, discuss LBGTQ topics, build community and gain a better understanding of resources available at MIT.

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LBGTQA Provincetown Retreat celebrates 10 years

Annual retreat offers a place for introspection, community building

About 40 undergraduate and graduate students journeyed to Provincetown on Friday, Sept. 28, for the 10th Annual Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, Queer, and Ally (LBGTQA) Community Leadership Provincetown Retreat. The retreat offered a weekend of enlightening and thought-provoking seminars focused on a number of LBGTQ specific topics.

The retreat planning committee said that they hoped all students who participated in the retreat would not only have fun, but also gain a better sense of community, cross-cultural perspectives, self-worth and knowledge of LBGT resources on campus.

"Provincetown also boasts a rich and vibrant LBGTQ history, a perfect backdrop for the event," said Abigail Francis, director of LBGT@MIT.

Many of the students in attendance said that the retreat provided a perfect incubator for new and interesting discussion where highly intellectual, established and bright people took a weekend off to discuss various LBGT issues.

On Friday evening, students took part in icebreakers and a dessert night with visiting LBGT students from Tufts. The rest of the weekend was filled with group sessions and discussion groups dealing with a number of topics including "Gender et. Al.," "Stages of Coming Out," "Queer and Greek," and "Spiritual Journeys: Queer People of Faith."

"Coming from the wheat fields of Kansas to the shores of Provincetown truly opens your eyes to the amazing support and encouragement we have at MIT through the Rainbow Lounge," said Sam Brinton, a graduate student in the School of Engineering's Technology and Policy program. "The weekend strives to give as many voices a chance to speak as possible and their combined speaking has truly inspired me for the coming year. I can't wait to make a change at MIT!"

Organizers said that students developed a deep bond during the weekend, one that, according to MIT Episcopal Chaplain Rev. Janie Donohue, "will translate to life on campus in a really beautiful way."

A number of students said they found the retreat a safe haven and a place for introspection and self-development. "P-Town is a safe space where I get to hang out with people from all over campus and discuss issues that I normally don't get to bring up with my friends at MIT," said one student attendee. "It's nice to really be myself with people that accept me, even if it is only for a few days."

Other student attendees echoed that the retreat was an overwhelming success, a place for reflection, growth and social action.

The Provincetown Retreat is an annual event sponsored by LBGT@MIT through the Office of the Dean for Student Life. It is free for all students and any student is welcome to attend. For more details about the retreat or about LBGT@MIT, please contact Abigail Francis at afran@mit.edu.

Topics: Diversity, Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ), Special events and guest speakers, Student life, Students


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