Although it is crowded and loud, an immediate sense of welcoming sweeps over the room as new and old GSA members gather in the Multicultural Center. With members of all different backgrounds and beliefs, it is clear that CofC students value diversity. Jessica Dugan, the President of the Gay-Straight Alliance organization, discusses the importance of the meeting, “Today members are being SafeZone trained. The purpose is to create awareness and provide a safe environment.” The Gay-Straight Alliance organization brings members of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender association and their straight allies together. As a group, they establish goals of inclusion, awareness and equality.The SafeZone training is crucial to GSA because without a culturally competent environment, the acceptance of members is compromised. The trainees will participate in 3-4 hour workshops and understand ways to deal with challenges that may arise in the LGBT community.
This upcoming month, GSA is ready to take on the spotlight with the observance of LGBT History Month. Dugan said “Oct. 11 was National Coming Out Day and we will be collaborating with other clubs this month, too. November is also a big month for us because there is the Transgender Day of Remembrance.” The National Coming Out Day celebration took place on Thursday, Oct. 10 in the Multicultural Center, which included free food, games, and stories. Additional past events include Open Mic Night, Scavenger-Raffle tasks, Second Chance Prom and an ice cream social.
In November, in honor of the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, GSA welcomed a special guest speaker, Rebecca Kling. Kling is a transgender artist who explores the concept of identity through her art. Kling’s purpose is to share her story while hoping to assist others along the way. She has performed in nine states, several festivals and has spoken regularly at colleges and high schools.
The members’ devotion to this club is evident not only through their attentiveness at the meeting but also through their passion for this year’s upcoming events. Gay-Straight Alliance is quickly becoming a prevalent club on campus due to their goal of creating a sense of unity while appreciating individuality as well. Gay-Straight Alliance meets at 5:30 on Thursdays in the Multicultural Center. Contact Jessica Dugan at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
For more information on LGBT/GSA involvement at College of Charleston, read the upcoming issue of The Yard, which comes out Nov. 21.