Gender Sexuality Alliance Club provides support to students
South Bureau Chief
When Professor Robert Gallagher first arrived on campus, Broward College did not have a club or any place for LGBTQ+ students.
A former president of the Gay Straight Alliance club in his college years, Professor Gallagher was shocked by this and determined to change that. “I was like ‘What?’ So, I found a couple gay students on campus, and I said ‘Hey, do you guys want to start a group? They were like ‘Yeah, yeah, we’ve never heard of anything like that.’ so we started a GSA group on campus eight years ago.”
The Gender Sexuality Alliance, now over 30 members strong, has provided many students with a strong community of supportive students and a safe place where members can discuss their lives and become more comfortable with their sexuality.
President Arianna Jean-Baptiste believes that GSA has helped her develop as a leader and has allowed her to learn more about herself. “I feel more connected with my sexuality as an individual and more comfortable questioning myself, my sexuality, and my gender pronouns.”
Kandice I. Rich, a member of the club, says GSA helped her find her sexuality: “I actually found out my sexuality through GSA. I always liked both (men and women) but I didn’t know it was ok to like both.”
She also discussed how GSA helped her learn that it was ok to not conform to society’s traditional norms, finding that “It was so interesting to find out there was nothing wrong with me, because I was told there was so often.”
The weekly meetings on Tuesdays are extremely friendly and supportive, with discussions on everything from members discussing their sexuality and upcoming club events to video games and what anime’s members are currently watching.
The club also holds multiple events throughout each semester, one of their biggest weeks being BC Pride week in October. During this week, GSA puts on events such as The Coming Out Experience, where students from GSA went on stage and told their coming out stories, and the LGBT & Religion Seminar, where the club invited a gay priest from an LGBTQ+ friendly church to discuss creating a welcoming environment to a community that has been pushed away from the church for so long.
When asked about their favorite events the club had put on, the Art of Drag was brought up by many members. During this event, a group of drag queens are invited on campus to perform a drag show.
Ibiene Michelle LongJohn found this event particularly memorable, as it introduced her to different parts of the LGBTQ community that she had never seen before. “The Art of Drag opened up a lot for me. I saw how they behave, and they told me about what it took for them to do it, how long it took them to do it, what makes them want to do it, their drive, so I think the art of drag will forever be a good thing to have at GSA.”
These events help give representation to LGBTQ+ students on campus to tell their stories and share with others about who they truly are. The events also help show students who are struggling with opening themselves up and telling their story that they are not alone in the struggles they are facing and have a safe community to discuss the things they are going through.
The club meets every Tuesday at 2:30, in the conference room on the second floor of building 69 at South Campus.