A group on campus is coloring outside of the lines and wants the world to know that “out is in” and love knows no gender. Recently, The Gay-Straight Alliance has put in extra effort to show its support for Alliance Week.
“Les Bro,” a male friend of the LGBTQA community, and “Flame Dame,” a female friend of the LGBTQA community, are the new slogans for the club to paste on this year’s new t-shirts, which were sold on Wednesday and Thursday in the Union.
“The point we wanted to get across to everyone was the fact that everyone is human, everyone is equal and everyone needs to be treated as such,” said senior president Jordan Schmeilder.
“I am Lesbian, I am Gay, I am Bi-Sexual, I am Transgender, I am Questionable, I am Human,” was also another t-shirt layout the club used to get the point across, and everything but “I am human” was crossed out.
On Wednesday, the club also showed “Bullied” in Cody Commons, a documentary film which chronicles one student’s ordeal at the hands of anti-gay bullies and offers a message of hope to those fighting harassment.
“We recently had Coming Out Day, and it was our chance to educate others about the struggles and strengths of coming out,” Schmeilder said. “We try to educate and inform what the alliance community is about and how they support LGBTQA people.”
Schmeilder has been a group member for two years, and this is his first year as president. Before Schmeilder, the club used to be known as the 10 Percent Club.
The group started with a few students who wanted the idea of equality and fairness to be put into action. Their group has been doing small- and large-scale activities to get their name out so people know they are a prominent set of students just like everyone else on campus.
“Boethis once said, ‘Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher power,’ which is a quote our group more or less stands by,” Schmeilder said. “It’s what we empower our education by. It’s our educational guideline, and it’s what I lead the group with.”
The group has had the privilege to experience a complete turnaround. They started the group with three people last year and ended with about 10 people. This year, the group has outgrown every conference room it’s met in and has compiled together a great group who is willing to do anything asked of them.
“Everyone acts as their own leader ready for action and success,” Schmeilder said.
The club can see a change in the community and has noticed people are getting more open-minded and comfortable with the idea that everyone is different, and many more seem to be accepting this new perception of life.
“People see what we are doing and the change that we are bringing, and it’s amazing that kids are becoming more comfortable to be true to themselves and to others, and they aren’t scared to be the person they really are,” Schmeilder said.
Not only is LGBTQA a club, but it is also a support group. It is close group of friends who all work together for the same goals. Schmeilder has been receiving a lot of messages asking for advice from strangers and friends, and he is happy he gets the privilege to lend out a helping hand to those in need because that is one of the biggest goals their club wants to offer.
“I feel really honored to be the leader and president of this group,” Schmeilder said. “We have been able to group, educate people, watch the change move positively forward, especially in the past year, and it has just been a really exciting thing to do.
My number-one goal for our group to achieve is for us to educate, advocate, break down stereotypes and those in this group are educational, advocating and accept everyone.”
The group will be having more events in the future such as a fundraiser selling flower condoms for World Aid’s Day. They are also working on an idea of hanging a sheet in the Quad full of different racial and ethnic slurs for Day of Tolerance. Then there will be a ceremonial burning to symbolize that this mentality will no longer be tolerated or accepted and that there will be several people who are going to stand against this hatred.