Students in Gay-Straight Alliance work to create a safe space for all
Clubs are known to add a splash of color in between a sometimes colorless academic day, and the GSA Club might be the most colorful club out there.
Standing for Gay-Straight Alliance, this club will ride the rainbow all the way to UConn for this year’s True Colors Conference on March 20. The last time the group went was two years ago, with not enough interest last year.
“I went to True Colors as a freshman and it changed my life. I realized how many people are a part of the community and full of pride,” said senior Aoife Samuelson, president of the club. “It was the most safe, prideful, and exciting experience I’ve ever felt. I think it’s really important that people have the opportunity to feel that and take advantage of the experience. It’s so amazing that we get to go…”
Adults attending this conference also get a lot out of it, witnessing students and attending events as well.
“For the students, they get to meet others who are going through what they’re going through and talk about issues the community has,” said club advisor Kelly Nelson. “As the advisor, I get to go to workshops with other advisors and get to talk about how to make our group better. As a whole, True Colors is very individually driven.”
The message of True Colors is similar to that of the GSA club, welcoming any student interested in the LGBTQ community or in need of a place to share their personal journey with others.
“The goal of this club is to educate while cultivating a sense of community,” said Samuelson. “Educating people is very important to me, but so is finding a place where everyone is welcome regardless, because I know sometimes that is hard to find.”
Many students have not hesitated to join the club, whether personally being connected to the LGBTQ community or wanting to learn more about it.
“I have lesbian parents, so I’ve always been very engaged with the LGBTQ community,” said sophomore Alanah White. “I love being a part of it and learning about the historical events that happened which helped build the confidence that the community has.”
Along with True Colors, GSA runs Day of Silence “where people take a vow of silence in recognition of those who no longer have a voice in minorities,” said Samuelson. They also partner with the club at ELMS to help their transition into high school and will run a movie night on Feb. 21 as a fundraiser, showing “Finding Dory.”
“It’s very important for people who aren’t a part of the community or don’t consider themselves part of the community to be an ally and support their friends,” said Ms. Nelson. “I recommend the GSA Club to anyone. Whether you are an ally, part of the community, or want to learn about ways to support, it’s an opportunity to make the world a better place for all people of different genders or sexualities.”