Thursday, February 25, 2010

GSA Go All the Way

Dr. Johnson brought up a valid point about the lack of a vocal gay community on the Rhodes College campus. I attended several of the GSA meetings my freshman and sophomore year. Students ran these meetings and discussed issues relative to the GLBT community such as coming out or personal experiences they have had while at Rhodes. Organizations like these on Campus are significant but not as prominent as other student held clubs. The lack of faculty involvement and support hinder the progress of these multicultural organizations.

The GLBT community outside of Rhodes is prominent and respected. Dr. Johnson referenced this and I could not agree more. From volunteering weekly at the MGLCC (Memphis Gay Lesbian Community Center) I have been exposed to an incredible organization. The founding principles and practices of this organization are grounded on firm beliefs that work. Community members feel weclome and use the center as a positive safe zone. It provides things such as free testing, pot luck dinners, motivational speakers, etc. The amount of support for the center is profound. Memphis community members support the organization and its goals profusely either through donation of time, goods, or money. The enables a healthy community for the GLBT community in Memphis.

If Rhodes GSA were given more support and recognition the efforst would hopefully produce a similar success as the MGLCC. Awareness is essential. Students are the most effective leaders on campus but support from faculty and administration would bring a heightened respect to the organization. Subsequently, Rhodes would no longer hold an insubstantial, inadequate number of community members. Collaboration between students and faculty would foster an ideal, safe, and respectable community at Rhodes College.


  1. I'm really glad you posted this. Though I have no experience with the Rhodes GSA or the MGLCC, I do think that support from faculty and administration is crucial to the success of the organization's mission.

    My younger sister and her friends this year decided to start a GSA chapter at their high school. We live in a very secluded, conservative, Catholic community where the "gay" lifestyle is only just beginning to be accepted, and only by a very small number of people. Most either ignore it or hate it, which I hope can be changed with education about the issue. I think a GSA is an essential step to reconciling the community's beliefs with the fact of homosexuality. Yet the school administration denied their request to form the club, and they subsequently filed a lawsuit with the ACLU.

    I'm not sure what the status of the situation is right now, but at the very least I think it serves to illustrate your point that support from those in positions of authority is necessary to the success of this type of organization and to the wider community's recognition and acceptance of the views it promotes.

  2. This was such a good post. I have served in GSA and although it is a tight knot group that offers a much needed support system for the Rhodes GLBT community it is definitely underrated. The greater campus community seems to largely ignore its existence, except for the few negative comments that get written on the flyers. If the faculty and staff were for involved in raising awareness on GLBT issues and supporting the GSA, the campus could create a safer atmosphere for members of the GLBT community.

  3. I agree with your conclusions here. I think Rhodes has a silence policy more because of lack of communication and understanding between its members rather than an across-the-board fear of homosexuality. Groups like GSA are pushing the boundaries of students, and I think that is essential to making kids realize that gays and lesbians are not the 'other,' that they are sitting in class with us and deserve to feel safe enough to talk about their lives. A faculty show of support, like Professor Gottlieb's recent response to an openly anti-gay opinion piece in the school newspaper, are good beginnings to creating an outspoken community for homosexuals at Rhodes.

  4. I couldn't agree more. Having heard little of the GSA here at Rhodes, I believe that more campus involvement on both the students and faculty can help provide awareness. I also think organizations like the MLGCC that have tried to make an impact in Memphis and its community need to step in to provide that support as well as create an example to follow. I do not think the gay and lesbian population at Rhodes feel suppressed by their peers. I think there needs to be better leadership by superiors and elders that have already been through the college scene.


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