By Kate Irwin
The Stonewall Resource Center (SRC) provides numerous resources to Grinnell students such as a GWSS lending library, a library with queer literature, a clothing closet with free clothing for use by transgender students, a space for identity based support groups to meet and is also a place for students to just relax. Recently, a group of students who are involved with the SRC decided to create a new group, the SRC Coalition, otherwise known as StoneCo.
StoneCo is not a new group to campus, however. The group ended four years ago, but students decided to revitalize it due to what they saw as a need in the community. Unlike the SRC’s provision of material resources and spaces, StoneCo is an LGBT+ action group, and is run solely by students.
“We want to work on improving life on campus for LGBT students and for everyone, but it’s a non-identity based group, where people can come and fix things that they want fixed on campus and work together,” said Erin Gaschott ’17, who is helping to restart StoneCo.
StoneCo is a group that is open to anyone — members don’t need a history of queer activism in order to be a member or take part in its actions on campus.
While the group’s efforts center on campus change, they do not focus on only the College community.
“We’re not necessarily limiting ourselves to campus,” said Ian McConnaughay ’17. “If people come to us with issues they want to take on, beyond that scope, we’re definitely willing to consider it.”
Goals of StoneCo include getting more speakers on campus and providing teaching and training sessions for professors about trans-inclusivity and important gender issues.
The members of StoneCo also plan to review insurance policies and examine current health care and mental health care providers.
“We’re going to try to figure out the degree to which those people are queer and trans friendly,” McConnaughay said.
A longterm goal of StoneCo is to make the SRC itself more accessible. Examples of this accessibility would be obtaining a ramp at the entrance of the SRC and ensuring that events hosted by the SRC are open to people beyond the campus.
StoneCo also wants to make the LGBT resources of the SRC more visible at Grinnell. This would mean making the resources known to prospective students and adding information on the college’s web page about resources the SRC offers.
StoneCo works to provide resources and information for transitioning students as well. Some of these resources include locating both laser hair removal clinics and informed consent clinics, and collecting qualitative data on these clinics, such how sensitive the clinics are towards transitioning students and correct gendering.
The recent election also provided the students incentive to revitalize StoneCo.
“It felt like something we could do to make the world a better place, because it’s just so easy to feel powerless,” Gaschott said.
StoneCo was officially revamped this semester.
“It was an attempt to feel galvanized into action,” McConnaughay said.
In terms of group organization, StoneCo itself aims to be egalitarian in nature.
“It’s a nonhierarchical group so everyone’s on the same playing field. Everyone can get help if they need it,” said Narz Nore ’20. “There might be people who take on more tasks, but they are no means higher up.”
StoneCo will not only be a resource for Grinnell students, but for the Grinnell community as well. One of the group’s goals is to provide resources to students at Grinnell High School. These resources could be as simple as advice, or even a mentorship program.
The easiest way for students to get involved with StoneCo is to come to the meetings.
“If there’s an issue that [students] want help with, or something that they see a problem with, even if they don’t know how to fix it, come to the meeting,” Emma Kalkowski-Farrand ’19 said.
If students are afraid to bring an issue up in person, StoneCo offers access to an anonymous app, Candid, where students can voice their concerns. Students can download Candid and select StoneCo to use this resource.
StoneCo meets Thursday nights at 8 p.m. in JRC 227.