On Jan. 22, 2015, Wittenberg University’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) officially became the Gender and Sexual Diversity Alliance (GSDA). There were many names to choose from at their open meeting, and each name was given consideration. The name change was put to a vote of members present at the meeting.
Sophomore Kyle Logan, the president of GSDA, said that this name change came as an effort to “promote inclusivity of the diversity of gender identities and sexual orientations which exist outside of being gay and straight.” For example, in the last few years individuals who identify as transgender have been receiving more attention in the civil rights realm, and GSDA is working to make sure that these individuals feel included.
This major step for the club comes in a time of rebirth. The former GSA was almost completely inactive in the school year of 2013-2014, due to a large number of factors. At the beginning of this school year, GSDA met to discuss how they could become more active on campus. New officers were elected and goals were discussed, including goals to have consistent meetings and activities on campus.
The new GSDA met all through last semester, and held several events. One of these events was the Purple Party, an event occuring on “Spirit Day,” a day to show support for the LGBTQA community and take a stand against bullying.
This semester, GSDA is planning many exciting events. One major focus is to reform the “Safe Zone” program, which has taken a backseat in recent years. This program encourages faculty and staff to be welcoming to students who identify as LGBTQA. Training is required, and those who wish to participate are given a sticker to identify themselves as an ally on which students can rely and feel safe. The faded stickers that have found a home on Wittenberg professors’ doors have ignited the new GSDA officers’ drive to reform the program.
Along with this reform, GSDA has several other missions and events planned for the semester. They will be working to obtain gender neutral housing and restrooms by campaigning to highlight the concern and desire for such structures. On Apr. 17, 2015, a plan is in place to participate in the Day Of Silence to raise awareness of the silencing effects of bullying and discrimination on the LGBTQA community.
Look out for other events from the new Gender and Sexual Diversity Alliance, including a pizza party at the new Bada Bing Pizzeria!