The GSA club meets every Thursday at seven PM in the top floor of the Student Center. The meetings are open to anyone and are a great way to get to know peers and become informed of the everyday struggles students face. We wanted to get a first hand feel of what goes on in a GSA meeting here at the University of Kentucky so we sat in on a meeting one Thursday night. When we first walked into the room it was just a classroom with the chairs and desk pushed out of the way so we could all form a circle on the ground. I was shocked to see how many people actually came to these meetings because I thought it was a smaller organization, but there were roughly 30 people there. The very first thing we did when we got there was go around in the circle and everyone had to say their name and what the best part of their week so far was. This broke the ice for most of the people because then we got into a real topic of what exactly is gender and why is it such a big issue in today’s society? We focused on this topic for about an hour and people would raise their hand when they had a comment to add or their own personal story to tell. It was quite interesting to hear what some of the students’ stories were because they were so confident in telling people private things when they just didn’t know them that well. For the majority of the meeting we discussed issues such as the Gender vs. Sex debate and Masculinity and Femininity. Each student would wait their turn patiently to comment or add on to another’s thoughts and were given time to share personal stories or experiences that complement the topic. Just from attending one meeting you could feel the closeness of the group and how they were all open to others views and opinions. The instructors emphasized on giving definitions of all terms used such as “third gender.” Having information sessions available to students and faculty such as these meetings are very useful tools in communicating to students how little most people really know about the LGBT community and what it means to consider yourself lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
Most people probably would not guess that there are actually a small portion of people who come to the GSA meetings and are in charge of OUTsource that are 100% straight. I thought it would be interesting to interview Nancy Pickle, who is vice president of GSA and helps out with events for OUTsource and she is straight. I asked Nancy why she came to OUTsource in the beginning and she said, “My cousin was being judged by her family because she came out and told them she was gay and they were not happy at all about it. I saw her being excluded a little from the family and then it all became a mess and a big family feud broke out. I started to take her in and make her feel better and became interested in helping people who had this same issue, so I walked into OUTsource because my leader for orientation told me about it.”