Although tensions across the world regarding LGBTQ identities remain, ABAC’s Gender Sexuality Alliance, or GSA, is still looking to educate and bring people together during LGBTQ History Month.
The history leading up to gay pride is filled with sacrifice and unrest. It is not enough to just show pride in identities; the community seeks to acknowledge the people who got them to that point.
LGBTQ History Month is credited to Rodney Wilson, a high school history teacher in Missouri, in 1994. The teacher came out to his class while discussing the Holocaust, making the point he would be murdered for his sexuality if they lived during that time. Even twenty years ago, evidence of progress in history was important to recognize.
Alexis Mack, GSA’s president, wants the club to serve as an educational and communal place for anyone on campus.
“There is generally a lot of misinformation regarding LGBTQ+ topics, even within the community. People have the perception that we want to ‘convert’ people, or are predatory when really, we just want to exist peacefully and be happy,” said Mack. Having a club like GSA at ABAC serves as a bridge between sexualities and generations.
Cass Uchida, GSA’s secretary, said, “Having events and celebrating makes a space for us to be seen by younger LGBT people who may not feel confident in their identity or may not feel represented, while also giving a space for older LGBT people to share their experiences and celebrate how much it took to get where we are today, individually and collectively.”
Some people may question the need for such a club on ABAC’s campus, but the societal pressures speak for themselves. People deserve representation no matter who they are.
President Alexis Mack said, “We are all deserving when it comes to forming connections and good relationships with other people. Sometimes it’s hard to do that when you are a minority in certain spaces. Not having these chances increases the likelihood of depressive moods, feelings of loneliness, and self-destructive behaviors.”
Having events and clubs to identify with unifies a campus and brings individuals together. It acts as a way to acknowledge each other and communicate despite potential barriers.
Uchida said, “Not only are we here, but we put in just as much good work as anyone else. We deserve to feel comfortable here and do our education and work in peace just like anyone else.”
While the club hosted a history month meeting Oct. 2, they are moving towards more light-hearted meetings during the year. Activities like movie nights, bubble tea or ice cream socials, Halloween parties, and bake sales occur throughout the year. Students have probably passed by their positive messages after their “Chalk Talks” at the end of the semester.
The club’s rebranding in 2022 from “Gay Straight Alliance” to “Gender Sexuality Alliance” was done to avoid further alienation and bring any and everyone together.
GSA’s importance at ABAC goes beyond just representation; it fuels community and healthy connections.
“At GSA you don’t have to tell us your identity, and you don’t have to be LGBT. If you want to come just hang out and make friends, that’s what we’re here for. More than anything we want to connect people and share experiences so that collectively we can all feel safer,” Uchida said.
There may be tension and underlying pressures surrounding the presence of GSA at ABAC, but its existence is not meant to be a hot, challenging topic.
Mack said, “People are afraid when they hear the word ‘gender’ and the word ‘sexuality.’ They assume it has to get political all of a sudden when I don’t consider existing political. These are things that describe and apply to everyone.”
If you are interested in connecting with people of all genders and sexualities at ABAC, GSA meetings are open to new members year-round. Their next meeting will be Oct. 30 at 5:30 in Bowen 213. Support can also be shown at their annual bake sale Oct. 26.