Pittsburg State University offers a variety of clubs and one of those is the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA). This organization has been at PSU since 2010.
“Honestly, it’s a social club, everybody can join,” said SGA president and senior in biology Wren Lowery. “It’s a lot of fun. Mostly we just try to hang out. We do a lot of events, we plan events, and (we) try to attend events that other organizations put on.”
While in the past year the group has started to move towards more advocacy for LGBT issues on campus.
“There isn’t a whole lot of queer community here on campus and so it’s hard to accommodate what you don’t know is there,” Lowrey said. “And so for that reason, we worked hard to get the gender-neutral bathrooms put into place. We’ve been working on getting more of an inclusive housing policy put in place.”
Lowery gave examples of the issues someone who is a part of the LGBT community may have experienced while on campus.
“We’ve noticed a lot of discrimination when it comes to roommates, So it’s already hard,” Lowrey said. “Because you’re going into a room with a complete stranger. And then even though they try to match you up with somebody who you should get along with. Sometimes that formula doesn’t always work out, and when it doesn’t work out with somebody who’s queer, whether that be because they’re nonbinary or because they are not heterosexual. They’re not straight. Then problems typically arise and not everybody knows how to deal with that, so a lot of the times I’ve met with people trying to deal with this that was probably trying to find a good solution with their roommate, and to figure it out they’re told that they can change rooms. That isn’t quite the way that this needs to be addressed… We’re trying to basically get a comprehensive plan of action. (If) you’re being harassed, what needs to happen next.”
According to Lowrey, GSA’s main goal is to create a safe and open place for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“In the perfect world, you wouldn’t even need a GSA,” Lowrey said. “The idea is that you’ve created this safe place where no matter what, no matter what you experienced in chemistry class or when you were walking through the Oval, you can come here, and you can know that everyone can be nice and they’re not going to judge you because of the color of your skin or because of who you love. They’re just going to treat you like a person.”
Lowrey also spoke on their personal experiences being an openly LGBTQ person.
“I have experienced a lot of discrimination because of my gender identity and expression as well as my sexuality,” Lowrey said. “I’m nonbinary. I cut my hair short. I don’t wear dresses and makeup, which was a really big deal in my hometown. My family is very homophobic. I had some difficulties in my first dorm. And have had people really get into the weeds of trying to ask me who I was and why I thought I was the way I was and it’s always super uncomfortable trying to explain who I am. But whenever I get into a space with people who know what it means to be different and they’re okay with me being different, it just doesn’t matter. And these are people who I can trust, and I can help.”
GSA meets in the basement of the Axe Library every Wednesday at 7 p.m. For more information for those interested, they can be found on social media and Gorilla Engage.