By Tessa Kielbasa
The Gay/Straight Alliance Club (GSA) at Sacred Heart University has been striving to provide members of the LGBTQ community, and their supporters, a safe and comfortable place since 2000.
The club’s goal is to provide a safe haven and start a conversation about the LGBTQ community on campus.
“Its really important for us as a minority group to have a voice, but also to have similar people to relate to,” said GSA president junior Rachel Zacharczyk.
There are chapters of the Gay/Straight Alliance all over the country in middle schools, high schools and colleges.
Their goal, according to the GSA’s national website, is to “work to end homophobia and transphobia.”
The organization also tries to provide a healthier environment in the schools where they have their clubs present.
This upcoming March, members of the Sacred Heart chapter are going to a LGBTQ conference that is being hosted at the University of Connecticut.
In the fall of the 2016 semester, the club sponsored and raised awarness by hosting their first transgender speaker at Sacred Heart.
Members of the club have been trying to spread LGBTQ positivity through a variety of activities, such as the speaking at the Martin Luther King Colloquia in January. They have also spread their message by holding table times outside Outtakes.
This April, the members are going to be participating in a Day of Silence. This will be observed nation wide and those participating will vow not to speak for an entire day to pay tribute to the members of their community who have not come out yet.
Freshman Emma Schwartz participated in the Day of Silence when she was in high school.
“I am a talkative person and for me not to speak, it’s weird,” said Schwartz.
The GSA provides students with a place where they feel comfortable to be who they are regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Schwartz said that belonging to the club made her transition into college life easier.
“The thing about GSA is that it is a celebration of who they are,” said junior Libby Connolly.
Having GSA on Sacred Heart’s campus helps promote diversity and raise awareness for the LGBTQ community. The club also promises to fight for social justice issues.
“Because Sacred Heart is a Catholic university, it is important to stand up for social justice,” said Connolly.
GSA achieves that by starting the conversation about the problem within today’s society.
The Gay/Straight Alliance meets on Wednesday evenings every week and has an active membership of about 25 students.
For more information contact Rachel Zacharczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org