Now more than ever, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning equality and oppression seems to be one of the most important and frequent topics on the world’s mind. 

Although America’s social climate is more progressive than it ever has been in history, this community still suffers from several kinds of oppression. In many other countries in the world, anything related to LGBTQ+ can be banned or even flat out illegal.   

This is where the True Colors Club of Oswego High School comes into the picture. Not only does this club serve as a great place for LGBTQ+ students to make friends, but it is also a club where the history of LGBTQ+ history and awareness is discussed. Most importantly, it is a safe space for all students to show their “true colors” and feel comfortable for who they are.

The club is run by two sponsors: acting and theater teacher Mrs. Katherine Conant, and Ms. Nisa Gabbidon, the school’s psychologist. Several students also help out as board members, including seniors Jupiter Garcia, Fransisco Rodriguez, Hayley Dillow, Isabel Valdez and sophomore Amari Madden. 

This club is made explicitly for LGBTQ+ students in mind. However, you do not have to be a member of that community to attend a meeting or become a member of the club.

“This is for anybody that’s LGBTQ+ and allies, so literally anyone,” Mrs. Conant said. “But, most of the club is made up of LGBTQ+ people.”

This ground rule created by the club really establishes what I said earlier about how this club creates a safe space for all LGBTQ+ students. Students of this community can ask questions and start discussions relating to their sexuality or gender identity, without feeling any pressure or judgment from others.

“It’s a safe space for people to come that don’t feel they are accepted anywhere else,” Mrs. Conant said. “It’s a place for them to ask questions and get answers.”

Valdez, the secretary and member of True Colors club, has thoughts on what she gets out of this club on a social and educational basis.

“I do get to meet a lot of new freshmen and sophomores, [and] I get to help them. Generally, just helping people helps my mind, I don’t know. It’s healing,” Valdez said. “I also get to learn a bunch of new things about the LGBT community that I didn’t even know before.”

To establish this educational factor within the club, there are many activities and much discussion time where awareness can be spread about some very delicate topics.

The board members of True Colors club listed from left to right: seniors Francisco Rodriguez, Hayley Dillow, Jupiter Garcia, Isabel Valdez and sophomore Amari Madden. Credit: Charlie Recchia, 42Fifty.

“We mostly have good discussions about different events that have occured in history, or about daily lives like: ‘have you experienced homophobia in school?’” Valdez said. “[This club] is just a community that you can confide in with your problems.”

Rodriguez, the co-president of the club, believes that although the club is not well known throughout the school, he still believes it is still important.

“I know that people always ask me, like this year and previous years, [that] ‘barely anybody knows you exist, you guys only have like only a dozen members,’” Rodriguez said. “I think it’s important that OHS does have another safe space where people can be themselves and comfortably say, ‘I’m gay, I’m this, these are my pronouns,’ because not everybody gets to do that at home.”   

The club is always open to new members and will welcome anyone willing to join with open arms and a supportive attitude. Meetings take place every Thursday after school in Room 38, for anyone interested in attending, or for anyone who needs a safe area to truly be themselves. 

“We are a safe place where you can be who you want to be. I got some of my best friends, I got closer to the ones I already have,” Rodriguez said. “It’s no commitment. You can stop by. If you like it, then we hope you stay, and if you don’t, then you’ll always know our doors are open.”

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