COTW: Gay-Straight Alliance
By Ben Deering
Sun Star Reporter
The Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) has had a long history with the UAF campus. Professor Peter Pinney, Associate Dean for the College of Rural Community Development, said that he’s been “involved since 1988 through its many iterations.”
Some members of the GSA have been around for a while. Others are new to the club, which is always open to new members. Lauren Tibbitts-Travis, the president of GSA, said she has been with the GSA for “officially, two years, but I’ve been a member in my high school the past four.”
Member Scott Chaddon Jr. said he was new to the group. “This is only the second semester, so not even a year yet.”
Members have different reasons for joining the club. Some joined for a need to fight for the issue of LGBT rights.
“I joined because I think this is an issue. LGBT right is an issue that needs to be more well-known, more well-taken care of.” Eugene Cole said.
“It’s an issue that I personally support,” Eli Barry-Garland said. “I was a long-time member in my local high school. It’s an issue I think is important.”
Others joined looking for a community.
“A bunch of my friends were in high school GSA, so I decided to join because I hoped to find some open-minded friends,” Chaddon Jr. said.
Still more joined because someone they or someone they knew are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
“I think the question is ‘why not,’” Tibbitts-Travis said. “My family has a history with the LGBT community. I have a half-dozen uncles, aunts, grandparents who are gay. When I came out to my parents, they were really cool about it.”
With the elections coming up, members of the GSA have strong opinions about the hotly-contested senate race. “Personally, not as a member of GSA, I really like McAdams,” Tibbitts-Travis said. “He’s upfront about what he believes in. He’s very pro-everything, he’s laid back, he’s a real person.”
“I haven’t been watching the news, but I’m definitely not voting for Joe Miller,” Cole said. “Tea Party Express, here we come.”
“It’s definitely not Miller-time, I’ll tell you that,” Barry-Garland said.
The GSA meets in room 502 in the Rasmussen Library, every Wednesday, from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.