Thirty-five GASPers gathered for our last meeting before the Thanksgiving break (next Friday). We had a number of important announcements to discuss, including an invitation to join Amnesty International-PUC next quarter on a trip to Alcatraz Island to see “@Large – the title of Ai Weiwei’s latest installation, turning the world’s most famous prison into what the Los Angeles times calls, ‘an always-poignant, often-powerful meditation on soul-deadening repressions of human thought and feeling.'” The Visual Arts Department will be showing a film about Ai Weiwei prior to the trip on January 25. For $35 students will get breakfast, transportation to SF, a ferry ride to Alcatraz and access to the art installation and the prison (students see the GASP Facebook for contact information – capacity is only 60). Daneen and Stephen also invited GASPers to a pre-vespers supper at their lovely home on Friday 11/14.
Our leader Nathan showed us a video by Key and Peele making fun of politely homophobic relatives preparing for a gay wedding (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtgY1q0J_TQ). It was funny – but also in some ways too close to being more of a documentary than a satire. From there we had a moving conversation about the aftermath one of our students has been experiencing in the wake of her most excellent recent article in Spectrum (http://spectrummagazine.org/blog/2014/11/09/pacific-union-college-student-i-was-heartbroken-and-angered). The piece has provoked an outpouring of support and testimonies from alumni who attended Adventist institutions in an earlier era when there was not nearly as much support available as there is now of their very painful journeys and deep appreciation for what was expressed in the piece. But predictably it also provoked not just disagreement (which we all welcome) but hateful, toxic attacks. Apparently some in the community of faith still do not understand the exquisite pain that so many Christian LGBTQ young people have suffered at the hands of the Church over the years – and more horribly, some (a small number we must keep reminding ourselves) understand but do not care. We continue to hope and pray that Pacific Union College is not among these latter groups.
We closed with a reminder that Thanksgiving week can be a particularly stressful time for LGBTQ students, and an encouragement for anyone who finds themselves feeling isolated or attacked to contact Ourplace students during the break.
Enjoy the vacation, stay safe, and we will see you all again at our next GASP meeting on December 3.