GSA sets goals for year

Club strives to include all

As senior Elise Bargman begins her third year as president of the Gender Sexuality Alliance, she expresses ideas about what she wants the club to accomplish.

“(My main goals are) fostering a sense of community as a club, hopefully meeting with administration more to talk about the gender inclusion policy and perhaps adding more unisex bathrooms,” Bargman said.

Club adviser Kyle Sweeney said she advises the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) because she believes kids should have a safe place to express themselves.

“I think it is an important thing for kids to have a place to come and get to know other kids in the school who have the same values as them,” Sweeney said. “I belong to the same community so I think I have an idea of what the kids are going through if they’re coming out or something like that.”

Bargman said she thinks the GSA creates a supportive environment for students. She said the club works with administration to change rules at Park in order to include everyone.

“Historically, I think the big thing has been sort of the activism part of (the club), just changing the rules and stuff,” Bargman said. “Now I think our school is much more inclusive and I think while there’s still a lot of rules and policies that need to be changed, I think a lot of (the

importance) is the social support and having a community developed.”

Sophomore KJ Preston Pepperell said they hope to increase students’ knowledge about the GSA.

“(I hope to) get more people to know about the GSA and what exactly we do (…) I want to spread the word about it,” Preston Pepperell said.Sweeney said she wants to address the ways people identify themselves which are not usually spoken about.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-8-57-16-pm“I’m looking forward to focusing more on transgender people and trans issues, and gender queer, and people who don’t identify with being male or female
. That’s a population that’s not talked about really — it’s misunderstood or not understood,” Sweeney said.

According to Sweeney, Park’s staff is taking steps toward accommodating everyone by asking students their preferred pronouns. She also said she learns more about gender labels from her students.

“Even some of the staff this year put in their student surveys pronouns you use. That’s a really big deal because I don’t know if
anybody has ever done that before. I always learn a lot from the students because they know all the new labels, all the different sexualities,” Sweeney said.

According to Bargman, anyone can be part of GSA. She said students can come whenever works for them.“There’s two clubs that are sort of LGBT related,” Bargman said. “The GSA, which is inclusive for everyone, and the LGBT support group, which is a confidential support group for LGBT and questioning kids.”

GSA meetings take place at 8:00 a.m. every Tuesday in room B231.

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