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Queer At HSU

QMAP (Queer Mentoring and Advocacy Program)


What is QMAP?


Queer Mentoring and Advocacy Program (QMAP) is a volunteer program that started in Fall 2015. Q.M.A.P. is one of the programs within the student-led campus organization Youth Educational Services which provides different volunteer and leadership opportunities for students. QMAP was piloted by Diana Diyarza and Amanda Near to provide students opportunities to come together to create more advocacy surrounding queer issues within the community, and to create spaces for youth to advocate about queer issues. The volunteers provide service by meeting with local schools' Diversity Clubs, and Gay Straight Alliance Clubs. They also create workshops for educators who work with this population and organize events and field trips for the youth they work with.


Defining Queer in the Context of QMAP


As defined by the QMAP volunteers in the interview below, queer is "whatever you want it to be" or not straight. To "queer" something is to question it, explore it, reinvent it, and overall to look past the strict dominant narratives of our society. Mimi Marnucci, in her book Feminism is Queer, defines queer to be going against, or beyond the "hegemonic binary." She defines this as "the coalescence of gender, sex, and sexuality into exactly two fundamentally distinct natural kinds: women and men" (Marinucci,page 76). The hegemonic binary divides people into two, exclusive categories: male sex with a woman-oriented sexuality, and female sex with a man-oriented sexuality. Our language, our society, and our culture are based in the idea of a hegemonic binary, and to question or resist this binary would be to look at it from a queer perspective. The volunteers of QMAP use the term queer as a descriptor to reach out to youth who may exist beyond the hegemonic binary, which could refer to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, asexual, transsexual, gender fluid, queer, or gender-conforming youth (list is not exhaustive). The term queer is also used as an action to resist the hegemonic binary by creating spaces for people to exist outside of this binary.


 QMAP Program Mission


 "QMAP aims to create a sense of community and empowerment among LGBTQ+ youth in Humboldt County. Building coalitions and safe spaces."


 This mission statement was written by the QMAP directors and volunteers when the program started. It provides the program with a vision and approach to the work they do with LGBTQ+ youth. The activities, resources, and events the volunteers choose to create for the youth all work towards accomplishing this mission. The concept of coalition building can be traced back to Barbara Smith's ideas on the four conceptual pillars of movement building. These include identity politics, coalition building, intersectionality, and multi-issue politics. Coalition building refers to the idea of "creating connections and shared agendas with other nationally and globally (Jones, Eubanks, and Smith, page 5). QMAP's work with the youth is oriented to foster their ability to create connections with people across the differences that divide them. 


Hunter, E. (2008). What's good for the gays is good for the gander: Making homeless youth housing safer for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. Family Court Review46(3), 543-557.

Jones, Alethia, Virginia Eubanks, and Barbara Smith. “Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me             Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith”. Albany: State U of       New York, 2014. Print.

Marinucci, Mimi. "Feminism Is Queer: the Intimate Connection Between Queer and Feminist       Theory." New York: Zed Books, 2010. Print.

Rosario, M. , Schrimshaw, E. , & Hunter, J. (2012). Risk factors for homelessness among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths: A developmental milestone approach. Children and Youth Services Review34(1), 186-193.

Whitbeck, L. , Chen, X. , Hoyt, D. , Tyler, K. , & Johnson, K. (2004). Mental disorder, subsistence strategies, and victimization among gay, lesbian, and bisexual homeless and runaway adolescents. Journal of Sex Research41(4), 329-342.

 QMAP website:


Curated by Ruby Townsend

QMAP (Queer Mentoring and Advocacy Program)