The Ten Percent Society is a group on campus that provides a space where students and members of the community can come and be themselves, be around people who share similar views and be in a safe place. This organization was formed in 1982 and has served the community of Grand Forks for over 35 years.
Some people may wonder where the name Ten Percent Society came from. Alfred Kinsey, a well-known Biologist who researched sexual behavior, approximated that about ten percent of the society exhibits homosexual behavior. Even though this claim has since been challenged, they have made the decision to keep the name because this organization has been known as the Ten Percent Society for over 35 years and changing the name would cause confusion. This organization has been at the center of a few civil rights movements here in Grand Forks, including the push for inclusion and housing nondiscrimination.
The push for housing nondiscrimination has been well supported by faculty, students and staff at the university, as well as people in the Grand Forks community. It led to the opening of the Social Justice Living Learning Community found in Selke Hall. This community focuses on creating an environment where all people, regardless of one’s age, size, gender, sexual orientation, identity, disability, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or religious affiliation or conviction.
Tieg Paulson, a member of the Ten Percent Society, shared with me the importance of the Ten Percent Society and the Pride Center here on campus.
“The Pride Center has been a goal of the entire LGBTQ+ population in Grand Forks and at UND for a very long time,” Paulson said. “It is an extremely important role, as having an administration role is incredibly important in recruiting and retaining current and future LGBTQ+ students.”
The Pride Center will continue to be a space where students can come and hang out or study. There are also resources for students in this space. Due to an unforeseeable event, there is no longer a full-time staff member operating out of the Pride Center. However, the university is actively looking for a qualified replacement.
North Dakota is known for being unaccepting towards the LGBTQ+ community. When asked if there was anything that the community should know and try to understand, Paulson left me with these beautiful words of wisdom:
“We appreciate the support that has been given in the past for this struggle and we look forward to working with the larger community regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, political orientation, or anything else, to ensure that Grand Forks is a community that accepts everybody.”
The Ten Percent Society also holds weekly meetings and events throughout the year. They meet on Monday nights in the Christus Rex lounge. Business starts at 6 p.m. and social activities start at 7 p.m. For anyone who has considered joining TPS, they encourage new members to attend a social activity to get acquainted with other club members before attending a business meeting. The Ten Percent Society also holds a drag show that all people of all sexuality and genders are invited to come attend. The next drag show will be Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in East Grand Forks. TPS also holds events during Coming Out Week and they hope to bring in a speaker during the spring semester.
Devon Abler is a staff writer for Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]