Wow! I counted 47 GASPers at last night’s meeting, not all in the room at the same time, in part because we were literally at full capacity and for a brief moment had someone sitting on the floor. Thanks to everyone for being part of this remarkable, courageous and loving community – what you have created here never ceases to amaze. As is often the case, the meeting was marked by wild highs and intense pain. We heard about each others obsessions of the week – in some cases a little more than we might have wanted to know. We also learned the outcome of an important coming out story one in our family had told us was imminent a few weeks ago, and went better than could have been hoped for, ending literally in a dance! We also got to share in a celebration of what I believe was a GASP first: a marriage engagement! This was especially poignant, as GASP began in the September of 2008, just as the campaign over California’s Proposition 8 was heating up. Many of our meetings that first quarter were spent discussing marriage equality (then it seemed like such a daring and dangerous idea). And at the first meeting after election day, while many of us were celebrating the landmark results of the presidential election, we were also angry and despairing that so many of the people that voted for Obama in the state also voted against marriage equality. So it is with special joy that we celebrate the planned marriage of two of our own gay students. Then one of our leaders showed us a spoken poem about one trans man’s heartbreaking experience, and led us through a discussion of the current epidemic of murders of trans people, and violence against trans people in general. We are lucky enough to have two amazing parents of one amazing trans woman in our GASP community, and they shared with us some of their experiences. But that also served to underline how bad things are for so many trans women and men who do not have that kind of support and resource. We are aware that even at PUC and even in GASP, there may right now be trans students who are still not comfortable coming out, and are living alone and in pain. Our prayer is that anyone in that situation will find by observing us that they have a loving and supportive community right here. On the GASP FB page anyone can find a map to safe, gender neutral restrooms on campus, and the college has been willing to gender students appropriately as they identify in official documents and on-campus designations. Anyone needing help in finding safe residential accommodations or changing gender designations, please contact faculty sponsors Aubyn Fulton or Leticia Rosado Russell, or any of our student leaders.
We will assemble again in the flesh in two weeks for our next GASP meeting on March 4, which will be the second to last week of Winter quarter, and our last meeting of the quarter.