Gay-Straight Alliance endeavors to educate, empower CEU students

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Posted Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 12:00am

CEU's newest up-and-coming club is a gay-straight alliance. Social sciences instructor Jennifer Truschka is the adviser of the organization that she hopes will educate people on gay issues and empower those that want to make a difference.

Truschka's original idea was to affiliate the organization with the national organization GLAAD [Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation]. In a meeting with Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Student Services, Brad King about the club and the suggestion was to put the word straight in the title since the organization is open to everyone, not just gay people.

She is contacting other alliances around the state to get suggestions on what to do and what legistation will affect Utah.

"I see it as a way to educate people," Truschka said. She emphasizes that the club is for the students and what happens in it is up to them. She hopes people will realize that gay issues are issues that are in people's everyday lives, their neighbors, family, friends and children.

There will be discussion of legislation on local and national levels to help educate people on what is happening and to give those that want to make a difference an idea of where to go and who to talk to.

She hopes to have posters and rainbow stickers at the preliminary meeting, which she hopes to have fall semester. That meeting will determine matters such as where and when the meetings should be held and what should go on. She hopes to, "Shake things up around here."

She wants the main focus to be on gay youth, "People are coming out as early as junior high and they have no outlet," she said, and wants to give people at CEU an outlet. "This is something I believe in. I'm here for the students, this is their organization, but I believe it needs to happen."

Truschka has worked with similar organizations before and says she wants this one to be based around the students. So far she has not encountered outright opposition, but has gotten mostly support and uncomfortable silences. She says she respects people's views and opinions but this is something that needs to be done.

One of Truschka's main concerns is confidentiality. If someone is interested in the organization and does not want others to know he or she is gay, it is vital that he or she is not "outed." Anyone that is interested in gay issues and does not want to join the club is welcome to talk to her without fear of reprisal.

The organization is still in the formative stages and does not yet have a constitution or set times or places. But anyone that is interested or has anything to say about the club or its ideals should contact Jennifer Truschka. Her office is in the CBB and her phone number is 613-5626. Or you can email her at [email protected]

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