Gay Straight Alliance plans activism

Club looks for change, support for LGBTQ community


Carissa Prestholdt

Freshman Sylvia Leppik shares her coming out story to GSA members during their meeting Oct. 25. In their weekly meetings, GSA also discusses current political topics.

Isabel Kjaer

.According to junior copresident Anika Jamison, the Gay Straight Alliance hopes to have more focused meetings and plans this year, particularly with regard to activism for LGBTQ rights.

“Last year, we were a little less organized. This year, we are cracking down,” Jamison said.

Adviser Kyle Sweeney said this year Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) members came prepared to participate in activism.

“Every year, we come in wanting to do more activism. This year, that seems really important,” Sweeney said.

According to Sweeney, the club discusses current events relating to LGBTQ people.

“A lot of what we do is talk about current events and what’s going on in the LGBTQ community,” Sweeney said.

According to Sweeney, in addition to weekly meetings, the group visits the capitol in the spring, where they attend a training session and converse with politicians.

“The year culminates in the spring when they go to the capital. There’s an activist training workshop, and then they go and talk with representatives,” Sweeney said.

According to Sweeney, GSA works toward activism goals while providing a protected space for students.

“In addition to being a safe social place, I want people to feel like we made a difference in the broader community,” Sweeney said.

Freshman Olivia Brown said many students are unaware how GSA brings strength to Park’s LGBTQ community.

“A lot of people don’t realize how many people are actually LGBT within the school, and (GSA) does increase the amount of tolerance throughout the school,” Brown said.

According to Jamison, schools with GSA clubs have a lower amount of suicides.

“I did a bunch of research at the beginning of the year, and I found out that schools with GSAs generally have a lower amount of suicides,” Jamison said. “It helps the whole school when you have an open, accepting community.”

The GSA meets every week at 8 a.m. on Thursdays in B230.