GSA Speak out event

Madison Mings, Lamp staff

SPRINGFIELD— The Gay Straight alliance held its annual SpeakOUT on April 8 and 9 having a two-day SpeakOUT for students and faculty. SpeakOUT is an event held by the GSA where they share their coming out stories and information about sexual identities or things about LGBTQ+. The first day of SpeakOUT was for the club members to speak on sexual identities, coming out stories, and information regarding to LGBTQ+ community. The second day of SpeakOUT was for the public to come and speak if they wanted to and tell their coming out stories, share their sexual orientations, or just listen to those who spoke and listen to their stories.

The first SpeakOUT location was held in the A. Lincoln commons and those who stayed for the event got pizza. Some club members spoke to the audience about their coming out stories or some were even outed, spoke about sexual identities, and talk about the LGBTQ+ community. I asked some club members what they spoke about at the event, GSA president Aiden Meyer spoke about Transgender Military Ban and how it affected his and many lives of others who are currently serving. I also asked how he thinks the event went, “I thought SpeakOUT turned out amazingly. People were very attentive, and everyone acted with respect and professionalism.” He said. Meyer said he would definitely hold another SpeakOUT event because “It’s very important and informative for the student body of LLCC to be informed of the different sexualities and identities that people may have. It’s also a great way for people to tell their stories and to represent the LGBT community.”

Jaylee Travis spoke about asexuality, questioning and being a demigirl. “I thought SpeakOUT went really well, plenty of people came by during both days and we had plenty of questions asked about our speeches as well!” she said. I asked how her experience was with it being her first SpeakOUT, “My experience was amazing, I honestly cannot wait ‘til next years and hearing all of the wonderful stories and questions everyone has!” she said.

It was Liz Davis’s second year with SpeakOUT, she shared the same story that she did last year, “I told the story of my outing just like last year, but I was much more composed this year. I think that’s because of all the support I’ve had for the past two years from the GSA. It was great to be able to educate the public about a topic that isn’t discussed very much in the media.” She said. I asked how she thought the event went, “I think the event went really well, and I know we gained a few new members from us! Everyone was very courteous and respectful. It can be really scary, but the support from the community is overwhelmingly positive.”

The second day had a good turnout as well, there were students that spoke about their own coming out stories, what sexual orientation they are, and how positive the LGBTQ+ community makes them feel. There was pizza and drinks provided for students and faculty to enjoy while listening. There were stories shared about family members, friends, and club members spoke again about their coming out stories and sexual orientations are.

Being in the GSA I really enjoy SpeakOUT and hearing the stories that are shared by club members or the public and see how the LGBTQ+ changes lives and learning all the sexual identities. I really enjoyed having two days because it gave the chance to hear from club members to hear their stories and know about the Gay Straight alliance club also having the public that are students and faculty to share their own stories or feelings the next day after hearing from the GSA club members.

Madison Mings can be reached at [email protected]