This year's Queer Awareness Month has featured traditional events such as GenderFuck, educational workshops, and a Common Meal, but it has also focused on a new theme: the borderlands. QuAM, which started at the beginning of the month, is meant to promote awareness of issues and individuals in Columbia's queer community. This year's theme, "La Frontera"—Spanish for "borderlands"—is a nod to the fact that October is also Latino Heritage Month, as well as a tribute to the famed feminist, queer, and cultural scholar Gloria Anzaldúa, the author of "Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza." La Frontera "is about feeling in between things, about celebrating the spaces between identities and positions," Robbie Lyman, CC '15 and media chair for Everyone Allied Against Homophobia, said in an email. "One of the most interesting aspects of that for me was to think about what my conception of a queer Latina or queer Latino's experience is and how I could have possibly formed that conception." QuAM has hosted events focusing on the LGBT community at large, including GenderFuck, the annual underwear party that was held this Saturday in Lerner Hall. Gavin McGown, CC '13 and president of GendeRevolution, a transgender support and advocacy group, called GenderFuck a sex-positive, body-positive event that allowed students to feel accepted in a safe space. "QuAM allows people to create their own sense of pride in their identities, to have space to celebrate identities that are marginalized, even within queer spaces," McGown said. "People said it was a special experience, that they could go wear whatever made them feel sexy and feel that their bodies were beautiful. And everyone was there to support them, and not tell them that their sexual acts or bodies were not attractive." The main theme of this year's QuAM, McGown said, is intersectionality—deconstructing traditional gender binaries. "We wanted to focus on that area of in-between identities," McGown, one of QuAM's organizers, said. "To think of spaces that are neither one nor the other—conceptual spaces that are very much thresholds on the limits of what we think are possibly categories. The idea is that we want to break down these categories." To that end, QuAM ran several educational workshops on queer and trans identity, including one last Wednesday that highlighted the experiences of transwomen of color. Gerardo Romo, CC '14 and a QuAM organizer, said in an email that this year's events are meant to be "explicitly inclusive ... of unspoken and marginalized identities," and not to frame issues exclusively through the "lens of a white gay man." Discussions of Chicana gays and lesbians were tied back to the borderlands theme and to the idea of hidden histories, in order to move past a "superficial level of awareness of other identities," Romo said. Adam Wilson, CC '14 and co-chair of the committee of QuAM organizers, said that the committee saw itself primarily as supporting the student groups involved in planning QuAM events. He noted that this year, several non-queer groups hosted activist events tied to QuAM, including Students Against Mass Incarceration, several Greek organizations, and several other groups that focus primarily on racial identity. "The vision we had for this year was to have the committee be more of an organizational tool for events since we have such a vibrant and active community on campus," he said. Despite the prominence of events like Queer Awareness Month, McGown believes that there are still students at Columbia who continue to be unaware of or disrespectful to queer students. "They should sit their asses down and learn something, whether in front of a computer, with a book, or through a discussion," McGown said. "If they still can't recognize that it's a problem, then there's not much we as activists can do, apart from trying to reach across in different ways." email@example.com...