The APSU Gay-Straight Alliance held their annual Safe Zone Training program in the African American Cultural Center. Thursday, March 21.
The intention of this program is to create a visible support network for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex individuals and their allies, or people who support sexual diversity and help combat homophobia and heterosexism. This is done by providing ways through which members of the APSU community can show their support.
The network is made visible by putting the Safe Zone symbol on doors and windows to signify that the location in question is an area in which LGBTQI issues are accepted and can be discussed freely.
Key speaker Vincent Windrow, director of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs at Middle Tennessee State University explained that a lot of what Safe Zone does is dealing with reminding people that they matter. People in the LGBTQI community deal with a lot of negativity, from both strangers and from people close to them.
“You may experience difficulties and hardships in your life,” Windrow said, “You can hide in the shadows, but you have to be you so that the people around you can be themselves too. Whether you are gay or straight or whatever, you have to be you so I can be me, and we can be the best versions of ourselves.”
Kelsey Brasfield, junior and vice president of the GSA, thought the training was really interesting and informative.
“It is a great opportunity for the students to come and see the faculty and staff get involved with the LGBTQI community on campus as well,” Brasfield said.
and events and feel welcome. This is the only organization like this for Nashville and Clarksville,” Whipkey said.
Queens Freeze, Summers Hall and Rodriquez all shared their appreciation for the GSA and the drag shows hosted by the organization.
“I love doing the shows for APSU,” said Freeze, who has performed in all the past APSU GSA drag shows.
Two students of APSU, Amanda Taylor and Derrick Eubanks, expressed their love for the GSA drag shows. “They’re fun, the drag queens have awesome personalities and [their personalities] come out when they’re dancing,” Taylor said. Eubanks shared that the 2013 spring show was third drag show he has attended, and he looked forward to seeing the new performers.
During the show’s intermission, students were chosen to participate in a competition host Cordy called “Vogue-ing.”
Two rounds were held with two students competing against each other. The students were given instructions by the drag queens on what to do, and then they were told to dance to the song provided.
The winner of the first round, Judcia Williams, surprised the audience with dance moves different members of the audience called “almost Drag Queen professional.” All participants received a coupon for a free pizza from Papa Murphy’s.
Co-chairperson of the GSA drag committee, Audrey Belton, commented on the show’s success afterwards. “The performers were all exceptional as always. They really love what they do and they put a lot of time into making these shows as successful as they are. I watched the audience from the side, and I never saw a dull moment. I think everyone from workers to the audience and performers had an awesome time. I know I personally can’t wait to do it again.”