LGBTQ Affinity Group and GSA: Who We Are and What We Do

Wakaba Aihara '22, Layout Editor

 Here at Berkshire School, we value diversity and inclusion within our community. Our school is quite diverse with regards to race, religion, identity, gender, talent, and background. However, there are often times where a certain group of individuals does not get represented enough: the members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community. 

 Despite society becoming more accepting of LGBTQ individuals, including visibility and some civil rights, the LGBTQ students are still being undermined and minoritized, sometimes becoming the targets of discrimination and oppression by the sexual-orientation and gender-identity majorities. 

 As a student leader of the LGBTQ Affinity Group and Gender and Sexuality Alliance, formerly known as Gay-Straight Alliance or GSA, here at Berkshire School, I would like to change that. I would like Berkshire School to be a more welcoming and respectful school community for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer individuals and their allies. 

The primary goals of Berkshire School’s LGBTQ Affinity Group are to:

  1. Create a welcoming and sustaining environment for LGBTQ individuals.
  2. Be inclusive of all forms of diversity, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
  3. Raise awareness and visibility.
  4. Initiate and support diversity at Berkshire School.
  5. Advocate for improvements to school policies that affect LGBTQ students and faculties. 

 Students and faculties who identify as members of the LGBTQ community gather weekly on Sunday at Bourne Common Room from 5:00 pm to discuss our goals, learn the history of our community, talk about the representation of our identities, and organize community events. As a result of our discussion from our latest meeting, we have proposed to Mr.Mulder to place the six-striped rainbow flag, a visible symbol of our identity and support, in Benson Dining Hall.

 Even if you do not identify yourself as an LGBTQ individual, there are plenty of other ways to get involved with the LGBTQ Affinity Group at Berkshire School. One is to join the Gender and Sexuality Alliance. GSA provides a supportive environment for all, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, questioning students, those who are perceived by others to be LGBTQ, those who have LGBTQ friends or family members, or those who care about the LGBTQ community and issues. 

 Both LGBTQ Affinity Group and GSA also have the purpose of educating others. Educating others in Berkshire School about LGBTQ issues through awareness activities will lead to resolving possible issues in school that affect all students, including harassment and discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression.