A representative on behalf of Rep. Lois Capps visited the Cultural Center on Oct. 18 to speak with members of the Cuesta College Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).
“It’s important to have representation in Congress,” representative Kate Usher said as she handed out f lyers about Capps’ record in congress regarding the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Bisexual (LGBT).
Usher’s appearance was to display Capps’ support and remind members that she was up for reelection to the 24th District congressional seat.
The GSA club functions more as a social and support group, GSA President Ryan Page said, but politics eventually comes up during most discussions.
“It gets political because our lives get politicized,” he said. This was the first time a speaker was invited to the club this semester.
The group enjoyed the presence of Usher, he said.
As well as arriving to gain support for Capps, Usher visited the club to share her story about National Coming Out Day. The day is a yearly event recognized nationally and internationally on Oct. 11. It started a year after the 1987 National March on
Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights and was adopted to endorse coming out and to increase understanding of the gay community.
“We’re really on the cusp of national recognition,” Page said.
Usher appealed personally to the club as she said that she supported one of her friends who is gay and was debating whether to tell his parents about his orientation on that day.
“It’s happening in families and now the law,” Page said.
Regardless of sexual orientation, all students are welcome to join the GSA meetings. The first 15 minutes are dedicated to introducing members and news topics while the rest of the duration is left to socialize and talk about relevant issues.
The club’s purpose is to provide “a positive, educational, fun, and safe presence on the Cuesta College campus for LGBTQI students and their allies,” according to their business card.
“When you are a minority you get closer because you have to support each other,” GSA vice-president Kaitlyn Eller said.
The group has been around for several years, but re-started in the fall semester of 2011. Originally with four members, the group now has 10 to 15 members—both gay and straight—who regularly attend meetings.
Page, Eller and Secretary/ Treasurer Mikayla Zuniga run the club, with sociology teacher Dr. Jane Morgan and commu- nications teacher Matt Vasques as the advisors.
According to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), there are nearly 4,000 registered GSAs across the United States. GSA Network claims that there are more than 800 GSA clubs in California alone.
Contact information, as well as future club date meetings, for the Cuesta College GSA can be found at facebook. com/CuestaCollegeGSA or academic.cuesta.edu/lead/clubs.
The 2012 election was a historic night for LGBT issues as well.
Wisconsin elected the first openly gay senator, Tammy Baldwin. Maine and Marlyand passed gay marriage in referendum and Minnesota defeated an anti-gay marriage definition law.