Last Friday and Saturday, Andover’s Gender-Sexuality Alliance (G.S.A.) hosted its annual G.S.A. Weekend in Kemper Auditorium and Elson Courtyard, allowing students to celebrate diversity in gender identities and sexual orientations. This year’s G.S.A. Weekend also commemorated the club’s 30th year at Andover.
“For me, G.S.A. weekend offered me time to reflect on the purpose of G.S.A., and how we can ensure that its next thirty years can be as successful as its first thirty. The recent developments in the Trump administration made these conversations especially salient,” said Miles McCain ’19, Co- Head of G.S.A.
Af-Lat-Am Joint Meeting:
G.S.A. weekend kicked off on Friday with a joint meeting between G.S.A. and Af-Lat-Am. Led by Anna Lopez ’19, a member of Af-Lat-Am, both groups participated in a discussion together about the intersectionality of race, culture, and the LGBTQIA+ community.
“I think we had a good turnout. We talked about the intersection of race and sexuality in media and its representation, or rather, lack of representation. It was a great discussion that touched upon homophobia within the POC community and racism within the queer community,” said Lopez in an email to The Phillipian.
Guest Speaker: Sharon Tentarelli, Founder of G.S.A. in 1988:
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the G.S.A., the G.S.A. Board invited Sharon Tentaterelli ’90, who founded G.S.A. at Andover. She talked about the history of Andover’s G.S.A., which was originally named “Gay-Straight Alliance,” and her experience on campus as a lesbian, which coincided with the AIDS epidemic that stigmatised the LGBTQIA+ community.
Nikita Muromcew ’21, an attendee, said, “[Tentarelli] talked a little bit about her own life, and how she went to a march in D.C. and how she saw gay rights activists protesting how the government was ignoring the AIDS crisis and how inconceivable the notion of gay marriage was. At the talk, she was able to show us photos of her son, and her wife was sitting in the audience with us.”
“[Tentarelli] showed us images from when she was trying to start the G.S.A. and it showed that no one was out at that time. She was a pioneer for G.S.A. at Andover so it was interesting getting to hear her speak,” said Lucy Grossbard ’19, a G.S.A. Board
“Love, Simon” Movie Viewing:
The “Love, Simon” screening took place on Saturday at noon and provided a more relaxed setting for students to celebrate G.S.A. Weekend. The screening served as a place where students could meet one another and bond over queer representation, especially in mainstream media.
Chi Igbokwe ’21, an attendee, said, “I saw a bunch of people that I didn’t know on campus and it was fun getting to meet new people. It was just a nice space. I think that’s why spaces like that are needed on campus and it reinforces the whole argument about affinity spaces. Although G.S.A. isn’t an affinity space, it’s a place where a people with shared commonalities can gather and that’s always healthy.”
YES+ Health and Sex-Ed Talk:
The weekend was bookended by the YES+ Health and Sex-Ed Talk, led by Grossbard. The event aimed to bring to light issues of sexual health and education in relation to the LGBTQIA+ community. The small group dynamic allowed for a casual atmosphere and more intimate discussions.
“We talked a lot about, in particular, queer sex-ed and [LGBTQIA+] Sex- Ed, because it’s not something that’s really talked about a lot. We got to have people ask more specific questions about things that aren’t asked about on campuses, especially here [at Andover],” said Grossbard.