GSA Weekend: Students Advocate For LGBTQIA+ Visibility

Last weekend, Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) hosted GSA Pride Weekend to raise awareness about LGBTQIA+ issues. As Laila Ballout, faculty advisor to GSA, described to The Phillipian, GSA Pride Weekend also aims to promote the inclusive space needed for the LGBTQIA+ community on campus.

“Here especially, it’s really open at Andover, and I know at home that people wouldn’t be upset if I came out, but they would definitely look at me differently, so I love that I can celebrate my identity, but it doesn’t define me at Andover,” said Zari Cordova-Potter ’20, a club member of GSA.

GSA is an organization where all students, regardless of sexual orientation, are welcome. It strives to promote pride and awareness about LGBTQIA+ issues on campus and create a safer school community.

“The LGBTQIA+ community [at Andover] is incredibly diverse, in who we are and where we’re coming from and how we experience being LGBTQIA+, and having time to share that and to try to convey who you really are is really important. It goes beyond the specific label that you have, so this a time for people to kind of choose how they want to be portrayed rather than kind of sticking one label on themselves and being confined to that,” said Indy Sobol ’17, co-head of GSA.

GSA Pride Weekend primarily highlighted the change in LGBTQIA+ rights from being taboo to being celebrated.

“I was really thinking about the queer struggle that has existed forever basically, and we fought so hard. Now, we’re able to just do this so freely, and we don’t even have to be scared of so much punishment. All the fight is now behind us [and] has led us to this moment,” said Nell Fitts ’18, a board member of GSA.

Events during the weekend included a GSA parade around campus and a Moth-style storytelling event, a personal storytelling style popularized by The Moth, a non-profit organization that strives to honor and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience, in the Underwood Room.