Identities, Acceptance and the GSA

From+left+Dakota+Densmore+%28%2723%29%2C+Megan+Bachand+%28%2722%29%2C+Laci+Cain+%28%2722%29%2C+BFA+teacher+Nicole+Schubert%2C+Rachel+Ledoux+%28%2724%29%2C+Tori+Jessiman+%28%2722%29++and+GSA+advisor+Elijah+Church.%0APhoto+credit%3A++Ashlie+Olio

From left Dakota Densmore (’23), Megan Bachand (’22), Laci Cain (’22), BFA teacher Nicole Schubert, Rachel Ledoux (’24), Tori Jessiman (’22) and GSA advisor Elijah Church. Photo credit: Ashlie Olio

Rachel Ledoux, Writer

Exploring gender identities and sexual/romantic orientations is a big part of growing up, which is why it is so important for teenagers, be they LGBTQ+ or not, to have a safe space to learn about these subjects and feel accepted no matter their identity. That’s exactly what the BFA Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) aims to do. 

Though Vermont is definitely better than others when it comes to LGBTQ+ acceptance, there is always room for improvement. Everyone is capable of learning more about their own community or becoming a better ally to their LGBTQ+ peers, especially considering the ever-increasing suicide rate of queer teenagers, which, according to the Trevor Project, is about four times that of their cisgender/heterosexual peers. According to Ashlie Olio, one of the GSA faculty advisors, the GSA is a “safe space where you can speak with people who understand.”

The GSA meets once a week, from 3 p.m.-4 p.m., on alternating Tuesdays and Thursdays, in the Cafeteria. Students can attend on either day, regardless of whether they are in-person that day or not. The GSA has worked on several projects around the school, from putting up pride posters to speaking at virtual assemblies.

The Alliance has two faculty advisors, Ashlie Olio and Elijah Church, and approximately 10 members, which consists of both LGBTQ+ and allies. Each student had overwhelmingly positive things to say about the club, one noting that it is “a super accepting group of people.” Even those who don’t attend due to their orientation enjoy the group a lot because of the kind advisors, accepting peers and free snacks. Either way, it is a fun way to spend an afternoon.

The GSA has done a lot in the short time it has been around for LGBTQ+ students at BFA and welcomes new members.