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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Setting up a GSA?

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Author Topic: Setting up a GSA?
Djuna
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Member # 29269

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Hi there! I'm finally back from my various travels, and I thought I'd say hello. I'm feeling great and had some wonderful experiences personally and sexually. I think I'm in a much better place than I was six or seven months ago.

Thing is, Oregon, and in particular my small-town university there, was a lot more accepting of me as queer than my conservative, Catholic university is back on the outskirts of London. In Oregon, our university organized a candlelit vigil for Tyler Clementi and the other teens involved in the spate of gay suicides last Fall. When a couple chalked messages appeared on campus - some Bible verses and one "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" - about fifty to a hundred students came out and chalked the whole campus with messages of love and equality. I cross-dressed on a couple nights out and got complimented on how awesome I looked.

Unfortunately, there really isn't much of a gay community here. There's maybe a student body of around 4000, but the out LGBT students I know of total maybe half a dozen. During my semester away, a guy named John had intended to get an LGBT society going but nothing came of it.

While I'm only just pushing to get the university to stop (indirectly) officially disapproving of gay students, I want to set up either an LGBT union, or perhaps better with a small gay population, a GSA. What I want advice about is how I can find resources on how to set up and run that kind of thing, and how I can go about making sure this guy John, who I know fairly well, doesn't feel I'm muscling in? The best I could come up with was going to him and saying I don't want to step on his thing, but he doesn't seem to have got much done and I want to have a whack at organizing something.

Not to mention the fact that I'm not such the party planner, and I don't know if I'll have much, if any, money to spend. What are some good mixer events I could hold? I'm trying to think of the things gay students are crying out for. I had thought of organizing a minibus to go into central London to hit some gay bars, because we don't have much of that out here. But I am worried that I need to take steps to ensure that students are safe - while I don't think there's a significant threat of violence at my university, verbal abuse is no great advert for being out on campus. When I ran for my student government last year, and got in, one of my minor campaign promises was increased LGBT rights in the univeristy constitution. A few voters I canvassed told me to go forth and multiply over that, as it were. So I don't know if people would necessarily respect the right of a GSA to start up.

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

Posts: 1269 | From: London, UK | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
CoatRack
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I'm about to run off, but I wanted to suggest a book for you. It's called Out Law: What LGBT Youth Should Know about Their Legal Rights by Lisa Keen

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Hey folks, my name is Andrew and I was a mod here for awhile a couple years ago. I'll be here for a couple weeks while Heather is out and the site is even more short-staffed than usual

Posts: 441 | From: Boston, MA | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Djuna
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Member # 29269

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Thanks - I'll check out that book, although it appears to be solely to do with US law. I don't know how applicable it'll be.

One thought I'd had was to make sure things weren't too political. I read that Mike Gerle, international Mr. Leather in 2007, called what he viewed as too much involvement in charitable activities on the part of leather BDSM societies as "c**k-blocking on an enormous scale... it is driving the kinky men I want to hook up with out of the few spaces we have left."

Not usually a fan of the term "c**k-blocking,"* but in this case I can see his point. To what extent do people think it's important to make sure that while LGBT organizations have a regard for gay politics & gay history - because where else does attention get paid to that stuff, really? - they also retain a certain amount of focus on LGBT people getting to meet, develop relationships, and share sexy time, especially in low-LGBT population areas such as my own?

*Side note: I always assumed that "c**k-blocking" (and I'm censoring it because I assume it would be unwelcome here, correct me if I'm wrong) reflected an overly patriarchal view of the sociological thingummy of sex. As in, the word implies that sex is something men go out to try to obtain, a commodity owned by women and sought by men. However, I've started to hear it used to refer to women too - if a woman's friend prevents her in some way from having sex (including, I think, lesbian sex), she would have been "c**k-blocked." So does that make the term kosher now, and should I unbunch my Calvin Kleins?

[ 01-22-2011, 11:26 AM: Message edited by: patrickvienna ]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

Posts: 1269 | From: London, UK | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
CoatRack
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Member # 50455

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Wow, I'm sorry, I totally didn't even see your location. Yikes - sorry again!

GLSEN, though US based, may still have suggestions. I'm afraid that all my expertise in this area is aimed at the US and Canada. I'm going to have to wish you luck and admit a total lack of knowledge.

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Hey folks, my name is Andrew and I was a mod here for awhile a couple years ago. I'll be here for a couple weeks while Heather is out and the site is even more short-staffed than usual

Posts: 441 | From: Boston, MA | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Djuna
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Member # 29269

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Hey, no worries - thanks for the recommendation! [Smile]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

Posts: 1269 | From: London, UK | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
CoatRack
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 50455

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(It's still a good book! Just, yeah, totally useless for your situation)

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Hey folks, my name is Andrew and I was a mod here for awhile a couple years ago. I'll be here for a couple weeks while Heather is out and the site is even more short-staffed than usual

Posts: 441 | From: Boston, MA | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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