Gay-Straight Alliance Signals Cultural Shift

Kevin Fong, Staff Writer

Seniors Hannah Creque and Aja Adair have brought the Gay Straight Alliance Club back to Campolindo.

The pair wanted to create a safe environment for students to discuss current issues and personal experiences and to raise awareness about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. The club meets Thursdays during lunch in D 10.

Homophobia is “an issue that is important to me,” Creque explained. She feels it’s “important to stand up for your peers and yourself.”

Both Creque and the GSA advisor, Chemistry teacher Patrick Wildermuth, noticed a cultural shift at Campolindo, observing a more open acceptance of gay students. Wildermuth said that “this year we got a really nice bunch of kids.” They are comfortable with being vocal about LGBT issues and their personal experiences with discrimination. Creque was happy to find a good response from the club, which now has 40 official members. The previous GSA club only had 12.

In their first meeting, the GSA members discussed why they were a part of the club. The club plans to watch movies about gay rights, instances of discrimination and discuss current events related to those issues.

The GSA will help raise awareness of gay and lesbian issues, and will observe the Day of Silence. During the Day of Silence, participants do not speak. This is intended to highlight bullying that frequently can occur in reponse to student choices regarding sexual orientation. Creque said that “it’s all about getting attention for the issue.”

Wildermuth attributes part of the cultural change on campus to the termination of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” which prohibited gays from participating in the military. He believes it had a “huge impact on society.” However, he thinks there is more change needed.

Junior Sarah Jin, a GSA member, hopes to be president of the club next year. She hopes “to make the school more comfortable,” and to cease bullying or hate speech based on sexuality or gender identity.

Jin, like Creque and Wildermuth, senses a difference in the campus climate from her freshman year to now; people are more aware and accepting, especially of LGBT kids. Jin hopes to build on what Creque accomplishes this year.