- Sincerely, Southern
The GSA of GSU, an LGBTQ+ sanctuary
By: Margaret Brogan, Print Reporter
The Gay-Straight Alliance is an active student organization on the Statesboro campus that aims to create a safe and inviting environment for LGBTQ+ students attending Georgia Southern University.
“It is a safe space for the queer community on campus,” said Moth Deloach, vice president of the GSA. “In particular, it's a good way if you're not from around here to find a support system with people who are like-minded, who have had the same struggles as you, who face the same issues that you face.”
The organization hosts Coffee Talk meetings on Tuesdays where they discuss predetermined LGBTQ+ topics. On Thursdays, the organization hosts Queer Trans People Of Color, a casual inclusive gathering.
LGBTQ+ students often use college as an opportunity to come out, as they are entering a new environment and gaining independence, said Deloach.
“I think it's important for them to have the opportunity to explore who they are while also getting advice from older people in the community, about ways to be safe about it, things to look out for,” said Deloach. “We have a bunch of resources on campus that students may not know about that can help them still explore and be who they want to be, but do it safely.”
The GSA typically hosts two major events during the academic year, Pride Prom, a themed dance for LGBTQ+ students to attend, in the fall and a drag show in the spring.
The GSA did not host the annual Pride Prom in the fall of 2022, and they haven’t decided if they will host it this fall. The GSA is also unsure if they will be hosting the drag show this semester.
“We're still being a bit COVID cautious and the current political climate has also made hosting big events a nightmare,” said Jamie Taylor, the president of the GSA.
As LGBTQ+ rights have grown to be a subject of debate in American politics, protecting the safe space that the GSA has built is crucial, said Ethan Garrigus, the manager of the GSA newsletter.
According to a report published by the FBI, crimes relating to sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity accounted for 20.4% of all hate crimes reported in 2022. The concern was echoed by Deloach.
“One of the reasons we hesitate to host events right now and we don’t do a lot of advertising is because we worry about people knowing that we have a gathering space where multiple queer people might be at one time,” said Deloach.
Although the GSA has not been able to host their traditional events this year, they have been able to maintain a space for LGBTQ+ students to connect, share valuable resources, and foster community through their weekly meetings.
“One of the biggest things people tell you when you go to college is don’t just sit in your dorm room. So I joined GSA to have a safe space and to have somewhere I can hang out and be whoever I wanna be, my true self,” said Garrigus.
If you are interested in joining the GSA at GSU, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.