GSA shows unity, support for FMU community


Photo by: Caleb Reeves

Gay Straight Alliance and Sigma Tau Delta team up to host a poetry slam in the Lee Nursing Building auditorium. Students presented original works o express themselves in a welcoming environment.

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) celebrated coming out and individuality with its annual coming out day event on Friday, October 9, as well as a poetry slam with Sigma Tau Delta (STD) on Thursday, October 15.

National Coming Out Day was on Sunday, October 11, but GSA decided to hold their event on Friday so that people could participate before fall break.

A display with boards, tables and music were set up in front of Founders Hall. As students, faculty and staff walked by the display, they were encouraged to take a moment to write on colorful construction paper something that they would like to come out about. Once they were finished, participants taped their pages to a board.

The confession did not have to be a secret or related to anything sexual. Some confessions said, “I’m coming out as a proud FMU Patriot,” “I’m coming out as a natural diva,” and “I am coming out as a gay Christian.”

GSA president Michael Wachowski, a senior history and French major, said that the goal of this event was to show unity and support to people who still have confessions to make.

“There’s quite a few college students who are still in the closet, who are not out openly, for fear of being judged, rejected and abandoned,” Wachowski said. “It allows them to show that we as a community care and that it doesn’t matter what you love or who you love; it just matters to be true to yourself.”

Khalil Johnson, a sophomore computer science major, and Nicholas Barber, a sophomore graphic design major, were two people who attended the event.

“It’s pretty much just telling people who I am,” Barber said. “If you’re afraid to come out, you could just post a little note over here. You have a bunch of supporters here.”

Barber is a member of GSA and said GSA can help people come out or give advice about coming out.

“They’re very supportive to people who are in the LGBT community or are straight,” Barber said.

The Poetry Slam took place in the Lee Nursing Building. About 50 students and professors attended, and many presented poetry they had written themselves.

Mason Jones, president of STD and a junior English major, said that there is a common goal that STD shares with GSA.

“A lot of what our groups try to do is get people to express themselves and to open up in ways that they may have not wanted to before, maybe even been allowed to before, especially in an open event like this, with poetry and reading stuff you’ve created, and really expressing yourself,” Jones said.

Jones hopes that other campus organizations will notice the event and the common goal between STD and GSA and follow their example to team up with other organizations that they have common goals with.

One presenter was Jordan Griffin, a junior biology major, who sang a part of a song that he wrote with two other friends.

“It’s a song about forsaken love,” Griffin said. “It’s just like you put energy into this person, and they just kind of disappear.”

Professors also spoke at the event, sharing works that they’ve created that are meaningful to them. A piece by English professor Dr. Rebecca Flannigan was called “The Summer I Ate Avocados,” and it told the story of daring adventures she had one summer.

English professor, Dr. Lance Weldy, presented a piece he wrote after being kicked out of a Christian university for being gay. It was his first time presenting at a poetry slam.

“I attended the slam last night because I am the faculty sponsor of GSA and the faculty co-sponsor of Sigma Tau Delta,” Weldy said. “I hadn’t really planned on reading any poetry, but then a former student, McKayla Parker, really wanted me to participate, and she convinced me that it would be fun. I’m glad she did.”