Programmers, anthropologists, ASNIC members, artists and veterans. These are but a few of the social tribes that make up the various clubs available on campus, organizing students from all walks of life amongst like-minded professionals within their chosen field of interest. However, out of these, there is one group that seeks to unite them all behind a common cause in order to make North Idaho College a bastion of understanding and liberty for both individual and society as a whole.
The North Idaho College Gender and Sexual Alliance.
Created in 1994, the GSA has provided a safe place for the LGBTQA+ community in an environment that has been less than accepting of its members, allowing those in need to find a place of belonging, understanding and community. Dedicating time and effort to combat social repression and to uphold the concept of happiness and liberty for all, the GSA keeps its doors open for anyone who’d wish to help, learn and contribute to the cause. By focusing efforts on education, both on issues such as gender dysphoria and sexuality, the club hopes to shine a light on an often-overlooked issue of day to day repression of love, whilst simultaneously promoting health and sexual responsibility through preventive measures.
“I think the most important part of the club for me has been the fact it’s provided an educational space and a chance to talk to people with a similar experience. In general, people aren’t very accepting, even within the LGBTQ community. It’s frustrating concerning bisexuality, because there’s rejection from both sides.” Said Lizzie Welker, a 24-year-old member of the club who had been seated across from an elaborate collection of colorful rubbers, conversing with various curious students who, like moths to a lightbulb, were drawn in by the cheerful demeanor and carousing attitude radiating from the corner of the sub that housed the GSA.
After reaffirming the stance and commitment of the club, the topic inevitably had to turn towards the unfortunate reality concerning the need of the club itself, for, if there was no issues around the world in regards to the LGBTQ+ community, the need for a movement around it would simply dissolve due to redundancy.
“There’s been a lot of altercations outside of campus through the years, and it’s unfortunately more common than not that someone has had such experiences.”
For many, harassment is a mere fact of life. From violence directed towards club members to social ostracization, the methods used to violate someone vary in their approach, yet the intent and purpose remains the same; to reinforce a social hierarchy with those who do not follow the norm confined at the bottom and in held in submission to the status quo.
Since the 2016 election there has been a surge of concerned students who find themselves worried of being targeted due to merely attempting to be oneself and express their love towards their partners. With the current administration taking the side of anti-LGBTQ politicians such as Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, questioning the right of trans-personnel in the military, or the Justice Departments pivoted course away from evolving laws concerning protection extended across sexual orientation, it’s hard to argue that there is no legitimacy to these concerns.
For those curious, inclined or in search of a safe place that can provide aid, the North Idaho College Gender and Sexual Alliance (GSA) can be visited during their weekly meetings in Blue Creek Bay, Thursdays at noon.