We had 27 GASPers for our first meeting of both 2015 and the Winter Quarter. It was so great to see everybody back from the break. Our leader Nathan asked for reports on how the time spent with family at home went, and then as we listened the complexity and range of challenges that LGBTQ students are still having was driven powerfully home. Some of the stories were very good – some GASPers came out to family members for the first time and were greeted with love and if not full then maybe the beginning of acceptance. Some of the stories were not quite good, but at least represented improvement. Some of the stories were sad and quite painful, as the family members of some GASPers were still not able to find a way hear and respect and love them as they are, and to support them on their journey as they figure themselves out. There was laughter, and there were tears.
We also talked about Leelah Alcorn’s tragic death over the break, and the importance of holding each other tight, and calling out the continued ignorance and hatred that surrounds these issues, particularly for trans men and women. We closed with a report on “The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan” by a friend of GASP who has been doing relief work in Afghanistan (you can learn more about this from this PBS site: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/dancingboys/). Thanks to all who were able to spend the time together, and to the many who were with us in spirit. You guys have created a remarkable and wondrous community community of support and renewal.
Our next meeting will be on January 21. Also, as we discussed at our last meeting, we are planning on a special meeting on January 28, portions of which will be videotaped for a documentary produced by PUC film students on some of our LGBTQ students. Since GASP is such an important part of their experience at PUC, the filmmakers realized it would be important to include GASP in their story. Nobody will be shown in the film unless they give the makers their explicit, written consent, so you will be able to attend this meeting even if you do not want to be recorded or identified. But we also wanted to arrange this so that people who did not want to have to worry at all about cameras could still get their regular GASP fix, we will have our normal, unrecorded GASP meetings every other week (January 21 and February 4) in addition to this special GASP meeting on January 28.