After struggling to become an established organization and being inactive for a year, the Queer Men’s Society is back ﾗ and its new leadership is determined to revitalize the group.
At the helm of this reformation is Paul Hoehn ’14. “I don’t have an inside perspective on how QMS functioned in the past, which I think is maybe a good thing because I feel like I can sort of design it and create it anew along with the other members,” he said.
Hoehn hopes the group will thrive at a level comparable to the Queer Women’s Collective (QWC) and create a stronger community for gay males on campus.
Founded in 2011, QMS aimed to be a male equivalent to QWC. However, QMS held no meetings last year. “There were definitely people that missed it,” Kyle Fisher ’16 said. “We didn’t know a lot of out people on campus. Without any leadership, there was no one to organize a meeting.”
Current members believe the main reason the society fell by the wayside was that it focused too heavily on the process of coming out. “When I was a sophomore,” Hoehn said, “I went to a few meetings and I felt like, while QWC is more of a social organization, QMS was trying to be more of a support group, and I think that is a function it should have, but I think that it was a little forced right away.”
Additionally, some argued QMS faced challenges as an anonymous organization run by one person. “When there’s no one who knows everyone in the group and can send out the emails, it doesn’t exist,” Fisher said. “The entire club is on the shoulders of a single person.”
Hoehn says the new QMS won’t fall into the same traps. “It [will] be fun and social first, and have the support part kind of evolve more organically,” he said. In addition, group members hope to avoid linking the QMS with politics, since Unity House, an LGBTQ-activist organization, already exists on campus. “While Unity House is great, some people don’t want to spend all their time fighting the fight and just want to live their life,” Fisher said. While QMS will stay an anonymous organization, Hoehn said he plans on advertising it more openly.
To learn from its success, QMS is turning toward QWC as a model. “I’m trying to imitate what they do,” Hoehn said. He also stated that he’s planning on programming some joint activities with QWC during the school year.
Members of QMS are confident they can create a lasting group on campus. “I’m very optimistic about it,” Ryan Drake ’14 said. Still, in order to sustain the group, QMS recognizes the need for younger members.
“I want some young people to feel like they can have a hand in shaping the organization,” Hoehn said. “I’m doing this in order to serve the community.”