Queer Alliance Club Aims to Help Students Feel Safer and Reduce Peer Discrimination
May 4, 2015
Queer Alliance is a club that was created by Kenley Farace (12) and Alison Galvin (12) that focuses on establishing a safe space for queer youth at SJHHS.
The club is creating a “support system for queer people with other queer people and straight people can be apart of it too, that’s totally fine. But it’s just not about them because they don’t have to struggle with their gender identity or their orientation because society already accepts them for who they are in those regards,” says Pierce Livingston.
The club is called Queer Alliance for two main reasons: ¨number one, when it’s just gay-straight alliance, it is exclusionary of transgender people and bisexual people because they are not in the name. Furthermore, gay-straight alliance’s intention was to have this bridge of communities between gay people and straight people but that’s not really what we’re trying to do with Queer Alliance,” says Livingston (12).
In regards to why they chose the word “queer” in their club name, Livingston says,
“Queer is kind of a reclaimed slur within the community. So, while originally it was not an okay thing to say because it was used derogatorily, queer people have reclaimed it as an umbrella term for people under different gender identities or sexual orientations that aren’t straight or transgender.”
Although some are offended by the word “queer,¨ Livingston believes that for the sake of being all-encompassing toward people of various gender identities and sexual orientations, it is the best term to use for the club.
The club is currently promoting equality by establishing a button campaign in which they have purchased buttons that say, “He/Him/His, She/He/Hers, They/Them/Theirs.¨ This is to normalize asking people about their pronouns rather than assuming their gender based on their appearance.
Queer Alliance was given “Safe Zone” posters by the Center OC — an LGBTQ+ organization that supports equality for all gender identities and sexual orientations — to hand out to the administration and staff of SJHHS.
“The Safe Zone posters are just there to let queer students know that at school we are trying to support being a place where they can feel safe to be themselves and not be persecuted or discriminated against for their gender identity or sexual orientation,” says Livingston.
“The context is that it is for queer people but I also think that it’s general and it applies to everyone because we can’t just talk about queer oppression. Bullying in general should not be tolerated,” says Farace.
Occasionally the club will have powerpoints or lectures where they explain concepts and terms to those who may not understand them.
“It’s just a good place to ask questions, like if you’re confused about something, or if you just generally want support or someone to talk to, or you just want to hangout with fun people,” says Livingston.
“I would go to queer alliance because they are a good support system and you can learn all there but pretty much talk to someone if you’re very confused or even if you’re just questioning talk to someone,” said Sydney Tagle (10).
“The meetings are probably the best way to get involved. At the meetings we kind of just hangout and talk about what we are doing, what we are doing to move forward, and any events we have planned.¨
“Come to Queer Alliance. I said that we build it around queer youth but our straight friends are always welcome. Just be there and listen,” says Farace.