Among the clubs in Stuyvesant that are dedicated to the appreciation of chocolate and Dance Dance Revolution, there are also more serious clubs. Gay Lesbian and Straight Spectrum (GLASS), started in 1990, is a club dedicated to the understanding of what is means to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT).
GLASS is “partially a support group, but more of an activist platform and an education forum,” senior and president Allegra Wiprud said. “Its purpose is to increase awareness and understanding of queer students and hopefully increase acceptance.”
In order to reach this objective, GLASS supervises Days of Action, such as the Day of Silence, and Ally week, which occurred during the week of Monday, October 19, this year. On these days, GLASS sets up a table on the bridge and by the cafeteria where people are free to ask any questions they might have about GLASS and the LGBT community in general.
These days of action serve three main purposes: “to let kids who aren’t ‘out,’ either about gender or sexuality, know that they have allies; to inspire discussions amongst the student body about that specific topic, such as Day of Silence; [and] to actively reveal our beliefs to the general public, either to start a discussion or encourage sensitivity about a subject and bring attention to a topic,” junior and vice president Kimberly Lawrence said.
In addition to these days of action, GLASS also brings in speakers to hold discussions on topics ranging from gender theory to acceptance to youth suicide. Past speakers include Kiwi Grady, the Community Initiatives Associate at the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Kate Bornstein, an author of Gender Outlaw and My Gender Workbook, and Matthew Brady, who gave a lecture entitled ‘Gay America, Then and Now.’
Most meetings are discussion-based and revolve around a chosen issue, such as the definition of gender and what it means to be LGBT in today’s world. GLASS also collaborates with SPARK—every other week the two organizations hold discussion groups on gender and transgender. Head SPARK counselor Angel Colon is also co-faculty advisor of GLASS, along with English teacher Megan Breslin. This link helps these joint meetings run smoothly.
Despite these weekly meetings, some students feel that GLASS isn’t doing enough to educate the Stuyvesant Community. Although GLASS does run a table on days of action, it’s difficult to spread awareness among a student body of over 3,000 students.
“In my three years at Stuyvesant I have not heard, nor seen much of GLASS’ work,” junior Yana Azova said. “GLASS could also publicize its meetings to get more students involved. Another tactic that works well is to create events that do not require attendees to be a member of the organization. This way more people can be affected and greater changes can be made.”
At the end of the day, the club has a specific purpose. “GLASS,” Wiprud said, “helps to bridge the gap between heteronormative people and the rest of us. We try to make Stuy a little more understanding than it might otherwise have been.”