The Gay Straight Alliance would like to thank The All State and APSU for their work toward creating a diverse, safe and welcoming campus for all students. We also appreciate the opportunity to respond to Joseph Johnson’s letter in an issue of The All State.
Jess and I understand the concerns stated, and we feel we should offer answers to his concerns. The GSA at APSU is not anti-Christian. In fact, many of our members and supporters identify themselves as Christian, regularly attend church services and practice Christ-like behaviors in their day-to-day lives.
In January, we held an event, “Fish Out of Water,” to educate the APSU community about how supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights are not anti-religious and the bible does not teach LGBT people are viewed any differently by God.
Additionally, the GSA petition against Chick-fil-A is not about our opposition to the Ten Commandments; the GSA simply believes hate and prejudice are wrong, regardless of the spiritual background of the person or organization.
Although we believe Chick-Fil-A has a right to support whatever organizations it deems worthy, many of these organizations work actively to discriminate against and harm large groups of people.
Johnson is correct when he says “some” of these organizations have done good things. However, these deeds do not excuse the harm they do. These organizations use “Christianity” to justify removing women’s rights, promoting racism and one organization even uses shock-therapy experiments to “cure” LGBT youth — practices similar to those of Adolf Hitler’s concentration camps.
Johnson also asked about the work the GSA does outside of serving ourselves. We are a small organization with limited resources, but we do find time and money to put toward worthy causes.
Last summer and this fall, GSA was instrumental in bringing “Safe Zone” to campus, which is a program that taught faculty and staff how to make their offices safe places for LGBT students who are seeking advice. Last November, the GSA held a very successful fundraiser that gave more than $600 to the Oasis Center, which provides support for at-risk youth in our community.
We have also been involved in regional HIV/AIDS awareness and bullying prevention events. In addition, the GSA co-sponsored Condom Day, which promoted safe sex for all students.
If given more funding, GSA would hold many more programs to increase our outreach and to do more good for all people. To say we only serve ourselves is simply not true.
Johnson’s letter also mentions Manna Café, a local charitable organization. Part of the campaign initiated by concerned APSU students is focused on encouraging students and faculty to do business at Starbucks instead of Chick-fil-A.
We support Starbucks because they are pro-equality and support many organizations that actively help the community, including Manna Café right here in Clarksville.
If people have questions about what we do, feel free to contact any of us in the GSA at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to clear up any misunderstandings. TAS