Eating pizza and sitting in a circle is a group mixed with faculty members and students, gathered to discuss a movie they just watched. The setting feels very normal, but the conversation elevates to a higher level than most pizza chit-chat.
The group, the Gay-Straight Coalition, had just watched the movie “Straight-Laced,” a film about how gender stereotypes create unbreakable confines for many people who don’t identify with societal norms dealing with gender.
After listening to commentaries from high school students who don’t fit into stereotypes or the societal ideals of gender, GSC gathered in a circle to talk about what they saw and how it applies to life at the University.
GSC has been having similar meetings and discussions all year long, and they’ve come a long way since their beginnings.
Some of the biggest accomplishments of the GSC this year include throwing a formal dinner-dance, the Gayla, today’s Day of Silence activities and, as always, fostering a safe and inclusive environment for all students on campus who wish to be involved.
President of OASIS and Steering member of GSC, senior Anna Masso speaks a little to their efforts in politics and collaborating with other groups on campus.
“We collaborated with Ashish [Kalani] to raise awareness for the PASS [PA Safe Schools] Act that is being debated,” Masso says. “We’ve had some really great meetings with deeply personal and moving conversations. Our topics cover a wide range of sexuality and gender issues and we’ve even collaborated with GCNova to talk about some of the most relevant gendered issues that both clubs are passionate about.”
Junior Ashish Kalani has been involved with GSC for the past two years, as well as OASIS, an LGBT confidential group. He is proud of the events that GSC has hosted and the strides they have made. Today, there is a panel discussion, similar to one held last year called “Staight Talk About Being Gay”. The panel will be held in Mendel 154 from 4p.m.-5:30p.m.
Today is also the Day of Silence. According to dayofsilence.org, the day is “is a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.
Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.”
T-shirts will be for available for students by the Oreo today from 11a.m.-2p.m.
These kinds of events have become annual occurrences at the University, showing exactly how much of an impact the GSC has begun to make.
“GSC members and support can only grow in the future,” Kalani says. “From the time we started as a group till now, we have become more visible on campus. I personally hope to see GSC to become an advocate and a voice on behalf of our Villanovans who are still closeted and fearful in disclosing being LGBT.”
Kalani says that the group would not have much success without a supportive community, but there is still improvement to be made in the reception of the group on campus.
“We have mountainous support from the Villanova,” Kalani says. “Thanks to faculty who are part of the GSC Steering, we have been able to host many events. However, we sometimes do not seem to have as much support from students. Our events do not only cater to the LGBT community. We are trying to engage the straight community as well. More straight allies should be supportive and come to events.”
The school year and the meeting year for GSC are coming to a close. The group held its final group meeting for the year on Tues., April 23, the day after their film and discussion day. Today is the final big event of Day of Silence and the Panel Discussion. With events like these developing a big presence on campus, it is hoped that GSC will have a bigger presence overall as well.