Great River’s Gender & Sexuality (GSA) has been busy!
On October 25th, student leaders organized a walk out, protesting the Trump administration’s proposed redefining of gender identity based only on biological sex. Students from GSA took turns speaking and leading their peers in chants. 70+ students chose to walkout, some holding signs, and peacefully gather on the north side of Energy Park Drive.
See below for student organizer Chandler Peters-DuRose’s reflection:
I am Chandler, a ninth grader here at GRS, and one of the leaders of the most recent protest. With the help of Astrid, administration, a few staff members, and a whole lot of support, a protest was organized to protect the trans community. Even though I wrote a speech and helped organize, I have to give a lot of credit to Astrid who made posters, buttons, flags, and really got the word out. To be completely honest, I didn't think this would go as well as it did - maybe 10 people would show up, not even. But in the end we got around 70 students in all grades. As a trans person who came from a school where trans jokes were made, this was really a large change. People who I didn't even know showed up and that’s a great feeling to see that many people care. After the protest was over I thought “whatever, it is done kids will move on and forget the whole thing happened.” Instead the exact opposite happened: kids came up to me in the hallway and complimented me on my speech. One kid even asked me how to get involved. It's hard not feeling like you belong and it's important that people find their voice and their passion. It is hard to constantly demand that you belong in a space that is meant for everyone. It gets exhausting. I don't really know why it is such a big deal because I am just doing what is right. Isn't that what people are supposed to do? Fight for and with the people who have not found their voice? I believe that everyone has a voice and that it is just a matter of finding it. Everyone is capable of public speaking, but for some people it comes naturally. For others it takes time. This is not about creating different genders. Rather, it is about embracing your identity. Everyone is allowed to identify as they wish and it is important to realize that identity is self-declared and to say a specific community “is not real” or “should be erased” is saying a group of people and their history is invalid and they are not human. By getting rid of basic rights it leaves communities powerless and less human intentionally or unintentionally.
On October 28th, a group of GSA students went to Monster Drag Brunch!
LUSH, a queer club located in Northeast Minneapolis, hosts a monthly themed all-ages drag brunch and has given generous scholarships for GRS students to attend. GSA members had the opportunity to see the show and meet the drag performers afterwards. Students prepped for this event by learning about the history and etiquette of drag shows in weekly GSA meetings. We’re looking forward to welcoming show director Victoria Deville to one of our meetings soon!
written by GSA leadership collective Ella Tomlinson, Avery Malenfant, and Stephanie Ballen