G.L.A.S.S. Evolves to be More Inclusive
Students frequently stop by the Health and Wellness Center, where G.L.A.S.S.’s resource room is located, to ask what time the next event will be held that same evening. Although the numbers have been modest, the attendance levels at these events have fulfilled G.L.A.S.S.’s expectations.
Early this month, Open Mic Night brought in nearly 50 attendees. It was a way for students who are not a part of the club to get involved and leave with an awareness of what G.L.A.S.S. is.
Since introducing its new name last year, when it was formerly known as the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Society to Gender, Love and Sexuality Spectrum—what Naimul Khan, president of G.L.A.S.S. refers to as one of their “defining moments”—the organization has been more focused on creating inclusive events. “I find that Baruch students in general aren’t very active on campus so the ones that are—we want them to be involved,” said Khan.
There have been events like Safe Zone training, an information session where faculty, staff and students receive helpful tips for becoming a better ally to the LGBTQ+ community, and Queer People of Faith where each of the seven tables at the resource center represented a different religion. Art projects were also set up on tables, each one meant to reveal one’s own identity with a combination of that faith. “A lot of important conversations happened at the table about different religions and what it is like to be an LGBT person in a religious household or to be a religious LGBT person,” Gabe Roman, Creative Director of G.L.A.S.S. explained.
G.L.A.S.S. has evolved greatly since its inception at Baruch College as G.A.L.A. in 1977. Operating in a stigma-heeding society that oppressed the voices of the LGBTQ+ community, G.A.L.A.’s members were virtually unable to conduct meetings at school without the help of security guards to protect the students. The group was eventually forced to go underground during the wake of the HIV and AIDS scare in the 1980’s and reemerged a decade later as Gay, Lesbian and Straight Society. Last year, with the Gender Neutral Campaign, G.L.A.S.S. received a lot of suggestions from students who were unable to identify with the acronym.
“People came up to us at tabling events and were like, ‘even though I’m part of the community this name does not reflect me as a person and I don’t want to say I’m part of the G.L.A.S.S. when people think I’m narrowed to Gay, Lesbian, or straight.’ But as a club who listens to their members and takes their feelings into high regards, we decided to change our name to reflect what they were asking for,” said Roman.
In an effort to reflect a safe space for intersectionality in not only sexuality but also identity, creating dialogue focused on issues affecting individuals within the LGBTQ+ community have also become a primary focus for the group.
Last year, G.L.A.S.S. was able to hold several events on gender and relationship structures like polyamory and how to be an ally for someone who is polyamorous.
This year the club plans to facilitate an event called ‘Toxic Culture,’ “which is not about views of the LGBT community from the eyes of those who are not in it but about the views of those who are within it. It is from the eyes of the people who are within and the issues that exist between the sections, like a how a gay man might view a bisexual person,” explained Roman.