By: Keegan Douglass
Times have changed; Americans are beginning to be more and more accepting of ethnic origins, religions, and most importantly, sexual orientations. Evidence of this is the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) club; a support group for people of various orientations.
Meetings are held in room 239B every Thursday at 2 p.m. GSA is the perfect place to meet new people, find support for problems, and discover new things. Every member is accepting and is willing to assist a fellow member, whether in need or not.
“It changed my life, because I can now educate people who are unaware about the LGBTQ community,” said Julia Woyton (9), a recent member of GSA.
“GSA made me more comfortable with myself as a person,” said Lexis Costa (10), a member who has been attending for a year, adding, “The positive atmosphere is what makes me want to continue attending.”
“The GSA isn’t just a place to create awareness for others; it’s a place to create awareness for the people inside, the people outside, and other people in the world. It creates a sense of home, as well as a sense of knowledge, about the world surrounding our home. Anyone can join and anyone can make a difference,” said Eric Barrese (10), the newly elected president of GSA.
Not only does this club change the lives of its members, but it offers a way for said members to associate with others who have gone through the same problems they have through GSA events, such as the GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network) conference, the Day of Silence, and the Pride Parades.
The GLSEN conference is where the participants of GSA travel to Boston by train to attend this conference held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which offers classes based around the LGBT community. It is also a good way for students to meet adults who have experienced coming out, discrimination, and confusion.
The Day of Silence is a day in which members of GSA stay silent for an entire school day, to show others what it feels like to be forced into silence. Afterwards, students return to the GSA room and scream, ending the day. It represents the problems which LGBT people face and teaches others about the problems.
The Pride Parades is where members of GSA travel to Providence to participate in a parade where LGBT people travel down a series of streets and express their “true colors.”
“They’re all important because they are a great chance to learn new things and how they LGBTQ rights affect others,” said Brenton Holmes (10), the current vice president at GSA.
People who are former members of GSA still think of their days as members fondly.
“It’s a very close, family-like environment where you wouldn’t be judged or belittled. Everyone’s opinions are respected and it is a great support group. It’s not just for people of the LGBT community; it’s also for people who support equality for all. You make friends and a life time of memories that will make you smile every time you think of them,” said Shannon McCullough (2013 alumni).
For more information, go to the official GSA website, created by Brenton Holmes at http://rabbitswithhats.weebly.com/index.html.