Garneau’s Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA) is an award-winning club supervised by Ms. Munro. The club meets on Fridays at lunch in room 339 to discuss the challenges presented to the Queer community at Marc Garneau and in the world. QSA’s goal is to educate our school about equity issues and create a positive space that anyone in the school may take advantage of.
I attended this past Friday’s meeting and was impressed by the welcoming atmosphere of the club. The chairs in the room were arranged in a large circle and music played as the students filed in. The room was soon full of club members eager to begin conversation on the meeting’s theme of “coming out”.
Discussion opened with a recounting of the experience of coming out from the club’s president, Arshi Shane. Other members’ stories were shared in the circle and met with support and attentive ears. Allies and LGBTQ students alike had the chance to share anecdotes, advice and ask questions. The openness of the dialogue was refreshing and much appreciated.
Having been involved with Q.S.A. this past school year, I was excited not only by the meeting’s turnout, but also by the number of male students in attendance. This year has seen the highest attendance of boys that QSA has ever had.
Below is an interview with QSA President, Arshi Shane.
Q: What were you most excited about the club achieving last year?
I think our most exciting achievement last year was winning the TDSB Director’s Gay-Straight Alliance (G.S.A.) Award. It’s only awarded to three schools in the entire board with G.S.A. clubs, which had huge contribution in spreading awareness and addressing LGBTQ issues at school, and providing safe and positive spaces for queer students. We are extremely proud and happy to win it for Garneau last school year.
Q: What has been most exciting about this year so far?
We’ve only had two meetings so far this semester and as the president I’m absolutely enjoying the huge turnout and interest at our club meetings. We’ve had very successful discussions on Coming out issues and LGBTQ terms in the meetings so far.
Q: Does QSA have any initiatives planned for this year?
We’re planning to attend the Unity Conference hosted at 519 Community Centre in November as a club. This conference consists of a chain of workshops for TDSB students which revolve around LGBTQ issues, anti-homophobia and is basically an event that celebrates the queer community. We’re going to have our first QSA Movie Night on October 4th where we’ll be screening a queer friendly movie to spread awareness. There’s so much more.
Q: Is QSA still open to new members?
We are definitely still open to new members. In fact new members can join anytime during the year. It’s a club open to all – Queer or Ally, staff or students – everyone is welcome to drop by. Our goal is to provide a positive space at Garneau where we can freely discuss queer related issues, provide support and create visibility for the queer student body. Our QSA Motto: Be Bold! Be Fabulous!
More information about Garneau’s QSA may be found here.