GSA co-presidents reflect on their experiences

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GSA co-presidents reflect on their experiences

Mehul Shrivastava, News Editor

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Today’s high school students have an extensive amount of pressure on them, not just school-related, but also to find themselves and figure out who they are. When it comes to gender identity or sexual orientation, teenagers nation-wide are struggling with internal conflict, discrimination in communities, and their overall search for love. Two seniors at WA worked throughout their years at the high school to do whatever they could to show support and ease the struggle for the LGBTQ+ community.

Over the course of the school year, senior co-presidents of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), E Killian and Gill Limbert, have wrapped up their last year at WA strong and have made a lot of progress with the club.

During club meetings, the co-presidents lead discussions on all sorts of topics, including racism and sexism, as well as current events. This year, the history of the LGBTQ+ community was a popular conversation topic. Killian mentioned that learning about the history of the community is vital for people with the current day mindset. They plan on staying up to date with current day events.

“It definitely helps put a perspective currently, in modern day situations,” said Killian.

Both co-presidents of the club agree that there are some false stigmas surrounding the club. For example, Limbert mentioned that she constantly felt the need to clarify her gender and sexuality after stating her involvement in the club.

“A lot of times people make the assumption that if you’re part of GSA you’re part of the community,” said Limbert.

GSA has not been known as a very active group, but in actuality, this year they have made quite a few connections in the club and have had all sorts of controversial discussions that are relevant to issues present today. They have also been successful in organizing drives and events to help the LGBTQ+ community.

They recently completed a successful drive for the Waltham House, as well as organized the Day of Silence that took place on March 29. The Waltham House, known as The Home for Little Wanderers, gives LGBTQ+ youth access to shelter and counseling if their families do not accept them and allow them to stay in their home. Supplies for basic living needs were collected for this drive.

The club also makes visits to freshmen health classes to educate them on gender and sexuality terms every year, and they plan to continue doing so.

Limbert wanted to be a part of a place where people were accepted for who they were. She joined GSA as a freshman, after a difficult year in eighth grade when many of her friends had come out.

“It was really, really hard for me to see them struggle,” said Limbert.

Killian joined GSA later in their freshman year. Through the club, they learned a lot about different ways people identify, as well as the various beliefs people had. As a leader, they were able to learn skills such as cooperation, planning and effective communication, which served to be useful outside of the club as well. Also, the supportive environment of GSA helped them come to terms about themselves as well.

Both co-presidents expressed the importance of being sure to stay educated on the community, terminology and current events.

For Limbert, the club gave her major insight to emotions, medical procedures, and other things she would not have known without the club, and she continues to learn more. She also emphasized that current events are important because problems cannot be fixed unless people are aware of them.

“I’m a straight ally, and as much as I try to learn and understand, I’m only ever going to be able to understand so much,” said Limbert.

As for Killian, keeping an open mind and keeping up with current events through research are useful when trying to get exposure to multiple points of view, whether one agrees with them or not.

“It’s helped me realize that we’re all just people, and we’re going to have our positive and negative traits,” said Killian.

Limbert believes that people are not necessarily ignorant about the topic, but rather tend to generalize the community. In cases when people do not know someone who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, they make assumptions based on media, which is not always accurate.

“There’s such an us versus them attitude, and I think people just need to understand that we are all human beings,” said Limbert.

Killian’s opinion on people’s knowledge is more specific. They believe that people are generally more educated on terms related to sexuality, but are not as aware to gender related terms.

The co-presidents concluded by encouraging people to reach out to the club if they ever felt they needed someone to talk to. They also had some hopeful words for the LGBTQ+ community.

“There’s so many people who love you, and it can be hard to find them, and there are a lot of times when people are going to be telling you otherwise, but my personal promise to you is that I will always be fighting for you and your rights and doing what I can and there are people who agree with my sentiment,” said Limbert.