GSA Solidarity Week: Not Just One Week, but Always


Dexter Win, Editor

In the past week, the Gay-Straight Alliance club or GSA announced that it would be hosting a solidarity week to help and encourage students at our to learn about solidarity, crossing intersectional boundaries, as well as cultural identities. Though the name only mentions “gay” and “straight,” GSA is inclusive to issues affecting the entire LGBTQ+ community. They also address important issues when it comes to racial and sexual discrimination in the world. All stats provided in this article come straight from the GSA San Marino instagram page. The first day of GSA Solidarity Week was designed to celebrate influential black LGBTQ+ figures. It featured James Baldwin, Marsha P. Johnson, Audre Lorde, and Munroe Bergdorf. All figures were incredibly active in their communities ranging from 1924 all the way to present day. On Tuesday the day addressed the jarring gap in the treatment of people with disabilities and LGBTQ+ individuals with disabilities. Out of every five trans-adults, two are disabled in some shape or form. This totals to a shocking three to five million LGBTQ+ people that struggle from a disability. On top of harsh bullying from peers, these individuals face many issues when it comes to receiving affordable healthcare from health services. Those who are both part of the LGBTQ+ community and disabled tend to suffer far worse from job discrimination than any other demographic. The next day, GSA took their time to discuss harmful generalizations about intersex youth. Intersex is simply defined as individuals born with characteristics that do not fit the binary ideas of male and female. Doctors unfortunately tend to try to “remedy” intersex children through surgery (intersex genital mutilation) and lifelong hormonal reinforcement. Not only are these treatments harmful to these children’s mental and physical health but are often done without their consent. Instead of trying to fit our youth into boxes, we should be more inclusive with our vocabulary and not consider such conditions “abnormal.” Next they discussed the harms that Native and Indigenous students face in school. Many identify using the “two-spirit” idea. A term that refers to an individual with both male and female energies. It goes as far as to recognize this as a third gender. This unfortunately is not widely taught due to education being primarily viewed from a “white” perspective. Last but certainly not least, came LGBTQ+ immigrant youth and their experiences. These students not only face harsh xenophobia in America but also queerphobia. Stigmas about immigrants and the LGBTQ+ community leave these students with nearly nowhere to turn. San Marino High School Senior and President of GSA Amber Phung commented on the importance of spreading awareness. Amber says she hopes that after this week San Marino can become a “welcoming environment” that “normalizes all groups of the LGBTQ+ community as well as ensure that all minorities are comfortable with their identities.” Some students may be very passionate about creating a welcoming environment but are unsure of how to do so actively in their personal lives. Amber recommends “changing the little things we do like using gay as an insult, making jokes about LGBTQ+ couples, and laughing about stereotypes.” Oftentimes we don’t realize just how impactful our actions can be regardless of how harmless they may seem in the moment. As a final note she encourages students to hold others accountable and to not be afraid to speak up about important social issues. Only through courage and discussions can we really make a change in our community.