Black Inclusive Rights Association Serves Black LGBTQ+ Students

Story by Barbara Garcia

Photo courtesy of Kyleah Marlisa Allen-Teneyuque

Black Inclusive Rights Association (BIRA) was established in July 2020 on Central Michigan University’s campus to create an environment where Black LGBTQ+ students can be themselves. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend to learn and socialize with each other.

The goal is to become educated on how the black community has unique issues and experiences that need to be discussed with people because those issues matter. BIRA emphasizes people who attend this organization will be seen and validated.

“We needed a space for Black Queer people to have a space dedicated to them,” Vice President of BIRA Daysha Reed said. “We support their Black identities and queer identities together.”

Future members will be able to become transparent about their feelings and discuss what they are going through. BIRA is a safe place for people who attend, and anything spoken about during the meetings shall stay confidential.

“We’re gonna learn, we’re gonna laugh, we’re gonna cry, we’re gonna vent,” President of BIRA Taylor Perry said. “We’re going to go through a range of emotions and lean on each other when we need it the most.”

The organization is there to develop a sense of community for people who might feel left out. The mission of BIRA is to advocate for intersectionality specifically pertaining to the LGBTQ+ black community.

Secretary of BIRA Sydnee Edwards said, “I believe for the first time as a QPOC (Queer Person of Color) we are finally being seen and using our voices to talk on issues that affect us.”