Tech’s hidden menu: GT Lesbian Mafia

Photo courtesy of Taylor Gray, Student Publications

Social media has become a great tool for establishing connections between students and their college campuses. 

Most, if not all, colleges have official pages on different social media platforms that are used to announce news, events and more.

Whether it be Instagram, Twitter or TikTok, universities are establishing themselves on these sites in order to unite their student bodies. 

But what about the smaller communities within these campuses? Who is representing them?

Unofficial pages on social media platforms are a relatively new idea that have just started to gain popularity within recent years. 

On Instagram, Tech has accumulated many of these accounts for different groups of students on campus, ranging from LGBTQ+ communities to Taylor Swift fans.

These types of pages have become sources for students to connect with others over shared comedic experiences at the Institute or the food served in the dining halls that week.

A popular unofficial Instagram account, @gt.lesbianmafia, has gained a following of around 2,830 people. They post a variety of content, including weekly spotlights on LGBTQ+ Tech students, memes and announcements about upcoming events on campus. 

In order to better understand these types of accounts, the Technique had the privilege of interviewing the creator of the page.

Established in October 2021 by Kaylee Barckhoff, fourth-year BA major, @gt.lesbianmafia was created with the purpose of representing “the prominent LGBT culture within the Georgia Tech community,” as stated by the owner.

What inspired the idea of an Instagram account surrounding the LGBTQ+ community at the Institute was Barckhoff’s own coming out the preceding year and the disconnect they still felt from others on Tech’s campus. 

The account manager recognized social media as a tool for meeting others who shared similar experiences and hence, @gt.lesbianmafia was invented.

These accounts all share a common significance: representation.

Whether it be students in the LGBTQ+ community or those who have an interest in rare models of different cars, all feelings are seen and all voices are heard.

@gt.lesbianmafia describes this importance as such: “To be able to see that there are queer people at GT, they are everywhere and are being celebrated for being themselves. You don’t have to feel alone if you are questioning your identity or sexuality.”

Although the unofficial Instagram page can have a comedic side to it as they post memes, the overall purpose is to create a safe space where people can be open and honest about who they are along with the problems they are facing on campus. 

The owner’s end goal for the account consists of making the Institute a “more inclusive environment where queer people don’t feel like they are the minority.”

The diversity of content posted on the page makes it unique compared to other accounts affiliated with Tech. Memes relating to funny experiences on campus and weekly LGBTQ+ student highlights combined with the discussion of serious issues the community faces makes for a distinctive reputation.

Due to the large following the account has accumulated and the positive interaction from students at Tech, it is clear that this unofficial account along with many others have a beneficial impact on campus. 

These pages may not have as many followers as @georgiatech or @georgiatechfb, but some may say they have more success at connecting students in a special, unconventional way at the Institute. 

At a time as critical and confusing as college can be, @gt.lesbianmafia is providing a concrete space where students can take pride in themselves and even be celebrated for their differences.

In closing, the Technique leaves you with a final message from @gt.lesbianmafia: “If you are struggling with anything… remember that flowers need rain and the GTLESBIANMAFIA loves you.”