GSA Hosts Pride Week Events

Cody Sloan spoke to students on April 26  about his experience as an openly trans actor.

Caroline Keeler

Cody Sloan spoke to students on April 26 about his experience as an openly trans actor.

From April 23 to 30, the Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) organized events for a pride week celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. The week featured 20-minute-long evening presentations by guest speakers and members of the faculty on LGBTQ+ life and history.

Throughout the week, students opted to dress in different colors of the rainbow each day to express support for the LGBTQ+ community. GSA co-heads Luke Gardiner ’21 and Eliza Ross ’22 also revamped the annual celebration of Pride Week by placing it after the Day of Silence, a national day of action drawing attention to bullying of LGBTQ+ students. 

In the evening presentations, Dr. Thomas Fisher, instructor in history and philosophy & religion, discussed current and future legal protections for the LGBTQ+ population in the United States. Ms. Emma Wynn, head of the humanities & social sciences department, talked about the ways in which Indian boarding schools in the U.S. erased Native gender and sexuality diversity.

Another evening session featured transgender actor Cody Sloan, who shared his experiences being the first openly transgender student at Northfield Mount Hermon and working as an out trans activist and actor. Ross said, “[His talk] was particularly beneficial to members of the LGBTQ+ community, because so many people have trouble finding role models or hearing about stories of people who found success in life while being open about their identity. His talk reminded people that it is possible to be out and proud, but also successful career-wise.”

Sloan’s event also offered a space for students to talk about queer representation in media. Emily Heimer ’21, who attended the talk, said, “It was astronomical to see another queer person thrive in the industry I plan on pursuing, because it’s so difficult to find representation. Sloan’s insights about boarding school showed how our society is so cis- and heteronormative. This made me question the norms I already accept in my gendered boarding school life.” 

The community also raised over $1,800 for the Trevor Project, an NGO that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth.