After a three-year absence, the Gay-Straight Alliance club is back and running. After establishing the club back in May, members held the first official meeting Monday, Aug. 21.
During the meeting club officers talked about board positions, upcoming volunteering events such as a car wash that will be held on Sept. 9, and basic club information like the making of t-shirts and a music playlist for the club.
Co-presidents, senior Courtney Ring and junior Courtney Marsee, started re-establishing the club through social media, posters around the school and announcements.
Looking for sponsors, Ring and Marsee decided to ask American Sign Language teacher Kimberly Carten. However, since she worked both at Hagerty and Oviedo, and her time was limited, they asked culinary teacher Jenna Vanek to be a co-sponsor with Carten.
“I was so excited to create this place of positivity and this safe place for students,” Vanek said.
Even though Vanek will still be handling parades and funds for the club, she will not be able to host meetings in her room because she is working towards getting her degree, making her unavailable Mondays. So, Modeling and Simulation teacher Lindsey Spalding volunteered to host the club meetings on Mondays in room 2-217.
Not only will GSA have weekly meetings, but they will also be walking in pride parades, learning about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and working with LGBT organizations such as the Zebra Coalition and The Pulse Foundation.
Though Ring and Marsee feel that the community has “never been more accepting” of LGBT members, especially after the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in 2016, both still feel the need for more acceptance. As leaders of the club, Ring and Marsee get rude comments, causing them to feel that people who are part of the LGBT community still get looked down upon.
“A lot of people were saying that we needed a safe space,” Ring said.
The GSA club strives to be a club where everyone can express themselves without judgment or hate, and a place where students can open discussions and play games with people of the same culture.
“We want this club to be a place where we can share in unity,”Marsee said.
Ring and Marsee created the board with co-presidents so that there will always be someone in charge. They set it up with one senior and one junior so that when the senior leaves there will be someone who can approve another co-president.