A Rendezvous to Remember: GLOSSI and the GSA
Contributed by Jacob S., 2005
For me, and the two Gay-Straight Alliance members who were with me, the night of June 24th, 2005 began with some hesitancy, and not just a little bit of nervousness. After our final day of school exams, the three of us expected to be relaxed and happy, but we were poised for another stressor; encountering, for the first time, the members of the Gays and Lesbians of Salt Spring Island, infamous in our eyes from Billy T’s references to them, and very mysterious. What would they be like? Were they people we knew? Should we be frightened, excited, better prepared? We didn’t know, and so when 6:00pm rolled around, and the first of the guests began to arrive at the wonderful Birdsong Bed and Breakfast, where the nights events were supposed to take place, we sat with frightful anticipation, and awaited our fellow youth; at least when they arrived, we’d have strength in numbers.
Well, I can assure everyone that within a half-hour of the evening actually beginning, most of our worries had disappeared, and we were happily chatting away with the G.L.O.S.S.I. members that had arrived, and uncaringly snacking on the many appetizers that we had at our disposal. These G.L.O.S.S.I. members were just people, nothing too scary.
I think that I speak for the entire G.S.A., or at least those who were at the rendezvous, when I say that we learned a lot, and are so happy that we had the opportunity to meet so many successful, happy and, well, normal members of the community; it gave us hope for the future.
The night began largely unstructured, but with the helpful and vocal leadership of Billy T, we soon organized ourselves into a collective group, and began introducing ourselves, and in effect, telling our stories. Often, the introductions would cause the discussion to go off into many directions and onto numerous tangents, and everything from homophobia in Texas to religion in Alberta was discussed. The 15-20 of us were so engrossed in our conversation that, by the time 8:30pm rolled around, nobody noticed! In fact, our discussions continued and continued until, eventually, someone’s stomach rumbled, and we all knew it was time to eat!
Needless to say, the food was delicious, and there was so much variety! Salads of all types, snacks galore, delicious and succulent meat, and every kind of beverage, from wine, to juice to Red Bull. We took an hour to refuel, and continued our chat in smaller, more personal groups (including a group of us teens outside, and by this point, every single one of us was having the time of our lives).
When we reunited again, we heard more touching and powerful stories, and the trusting and open atmosphere was something that I at least have rarely experienced. Like one attendee said: “it was similar to the atmosphere of a church congregation, in terms of the closeness”, and of course it was judgment-free and very fun. The stories that were told varied widely, from stories of assumedly-forbidden love to struggles against the many systemic prejudices that plague countless institutions of our country, and they touched my heart and the hearts of colleagues. Not only have we been informed, but also inspired to continue our push for human rights and equality in all walks of life. The night ended late, but to many it seemed too soon; we still had, and have so much work to do, but at least we now know that the process can be done together, collectively, by all those who care, regardless of age.
We hope that this rendezvous was only the first of many, and that the relationship between G.L.O.S.S.I. and the Gulf Islands Secondary School G.S.A. will blossom and strengthen. We would like to extend an open invitation to all G.L.O.S.S.I. members to contact the G.S.A. at anytime, and we hope to be kept informed and to be involved in as many events as possible. Thanks!