The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday September 26th

Groups Aim to Help LGBT Community Socialize

The Carolina LGBT Film Society and the Carolina LGBT Coalition were founded under the guidance of LGBT Administrative Assistant Fred Hashagen, who has been in office for less than a month.

Freshman Trevor Hoppe started the film society, while Hashagen himself started the coalition, an umbrella group created to unite existing LGBT organizations. "A basic sense of community was lacking among LGBT individuals," Hashagen said.

The film society is intended to bring the LGBT population together in a social environment, Hoppe said. The group has drawn more than 30 people to each of its three meetings so far this semester.

"There was a lack of social events going on for the (LGBT) community," Hoppe said. "(Queer Network for Change) is aimed at political activism."

Hoppe said each meeting of the film society is highlighted by a movie showing but also provides time for informal socializing. Future events might include trips to Insomnia -- a weekly event held at Gotham nightclub that attracts many LGBT individuals -- or sitting in blocks at basketball games.

Glenn Grossman, co-chairman of Carolina Alternative Meetings of Professional and Graduate Students, said it is important to have an outlet where the LGBT community can meet informally. "This is going to be purely social," he said.

The LGBT community also must help people who are in the closet, Hashagen said, adding that the film society could reach out to these people in a casual setting. "I don't want to make students that are in the closet to feel like they aren't part of the community," he said.

The film society also should provide a support group and even romantic possibilities for LGBT people on campus -- two things that they often find difficult to come by, Grossman said.

"The University has not responded to the quality of life issue at all," Grossman said. "We have to find other ways to respond to the needs of the population."

Hashagen said the coalition also can address these needs by linking the various LGBT campus groups. Coalition meetings are open to members of all LGBT organizations, including QNC, CAMP and other graduate groups.

"Every group supported the idea," Hashagen said. "More than anything else, we want to make everyone aware of everyone's activities."

Hashagen mentioned some specific problems plaguing the LGBT community that the coalition can address. He said the separation between LGBT individuals by age is detrimental to the entire community.

"They don't go out of their comfort zone in terms of age," Hashagen said.

The coalition should help address this problem by promoting a sense of community throughout the entire LGBT population at UNC, not just the undergraduates or graduates, Hashagen said.

Grossman said he is impressed with the work that has already been done this semester in helping the LGBT community. He mentioned Hoppe and Hashagen's motivation as a key part of the movement, which has been in the works for years.

"Fred was the right person at the right time to support (the community)," Grossman said.

"I think he's a hero."

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