The Born this Way Club

by NathalieG on May 17, 2013 - 10:30pm

Two summers ago, I met this guy.  He was cute and sweet.  He was two years younger than I was, which explained why I had never seen him around school.  We became fast friends and even though I went on to CEGEP, we have kept contact.  Since I met him, he had had a few girlfriends, but when he started explaining to me that he had falling out with his best friend because his best friend did not approve of who he was in love with, I did not really understand.  It took him maybe another month before he told me he was in love with a guy last December.  They officially started dating the next day and are still dating now. I already had a few gay friends, but with him it was different.  I had known him for a while and it surprised me.  At school, he is a popular jock type, so it was not expected. 

All this to say, when we had to choose a topic for the superpost, I knew my topic would be something touching gay rights.  Many articles helped me get even more into the subject.  Some of these were “French Assembly passes gay marriage, adoption bill” by Jamey Keaten and the Associated Press from February 12th, 2013, "Republicans Sign Brief in Support of Gay Marriage" by Sheryl Gay Stolberg in the New York Times from February 25th, 2013, and “Jason Collins faces a big test after coming out: getting signed by an NBA team” by Jon Krawczynski and The Associated Press in the Montreal Gazette on May 1st, 2013.

When asked to either write a term paper or volunteer on the subject we had been working on, I decided that since Champlain did not have an LGBTQ club, it would be relevant to start one.  I did my volunteering with Amina from the newsactivism class.  It was impossible to start the club entirely in the time we had, but we ended up making the entire constitution for the club, so it can officially be started next year.  I do plan on working on the club to see that it is started next year.

The first thing I did when planning to start the club was go see an animator, Dave, at the school.  He explained to me that some people were already interested in starting this club and that an academic advisor would help us.  He introduced us right away and she was very happy to see students interested in this.  She helped us out by putting us in contact with another student animator, Adam, who set up a meeting with us and the two other students.

Adam was very helpful in getting started because we could discuss ideas with him and it made meetings less awkward.  Only one of the two girls I did not know ended up actually working with us.  In the first meeting, we discussed actually trying to start the club this year.  Amina and I decided to write up the Constitution for the club and sent it to the other girl.  We decided the club should be named the “Born this Way Club.”  Inspired by the Lady Gaga song, we thought it would be appropriate to call it this name and would be seen less as the “gay club.”

During class in the next few weeks, Amina and I wrote up the constitution for the club.  Following the guidelines given in the Champlain club handbook, we came up with this.  Depending on what happens next year, we will be open to changes, but a solid base is done.

This is the Constitution:

Article I:Name

Born this Way Club

Article II:Objective and Purpose

The major purpose of the club is to promote acceptance in the college, focused on the LGBTQ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) community.

Article III:Membership

The membership shall be open to all Champlain students who support equality and acceptance amongst students.

Article IV:Executives

a)    President:

-Makes final decisions and approve what is done by other executives

-Plans activities and events

-Publicizes activities, events, and fund-raisers

-Makes sure decisions are put into practice according to rules set in the constitution

b)    Vice-President:

-Informs members of decisions that were taken by the executives

-Supports president in planning and organizing activities and events

-Replaces president if he cannot attend a meeting

c)    Secretary:

-Takes notes in meetings, so the entirety of the club can know what went on

-Makes minutes of the meeting available to all members

-Assures communication between the executives of the club

d)    Treasurer:

-Makes sure the club’s budget is balanced

- Plans fund-raisers

-Spends the club’s money wisely

-Be able to inform club member’s of how any money is being spent

Article V: Fees

There are no particular rules concerning the fees of the club.

Article VI:Elections

There will be elections held every 8thweek of the Winter Semester. People can nominate themselves for a position two weeks before the elections (or on the 6thweek of the winter semester).  They must have at least one year left at Champlain to be considered, to maximize continuity between semesters. The procedures to determine executives will consist of a one week campaign (the 7thweek of the winter semester).  If an executive drops out for whatever reason, the remaining executive can appoint someone to fill that position until the next election period.  If the president drops out, he will be replaced by the vice-president (unless he refuses) and a new vice-president will be found to assure continuity.

Article VII:General Meetings

Meetings shall be held at free block at least once a month.  The meetings shall be called by the president at least two days in advance.  The secretary shall take notes and must be able to provide them to anyone who could not attend the meeting.

Article VIII: Amendment

Any new ideas from members and potential members will be heard by the president or the vice-president.  The officers will discuss the issue and vote on it.  If there is a tie the president will make the final decision.  The rest of the clubs members need to be informed by the vice-president of whatever decision is taken.  Club members can appeal the decision during the following week and reopen a discussion.  A new vote would have to be called.

Article IX:Activities

-Spirit day (October): Encourages people to wear purple to show their support for gay rights and against bullying caused by sexual orientation.

-Anti-homophobia month (May): Month in which awareness must be raised for issues supporting gay rights.  Poster must be put up to raise awareness.  Booths can be put up near the cafeteria (with the approval of the CSA) to make people conscious of the issue.

Article X:Budget

The 100.00$ given by the CSA must be used to create posters and to promote the events.  The treasurer must take care of the budget and be in contact with the CSA if more is needed for particular causes or activities.  Bake sales can be done to raise money for future events.”

To actually start the club, we need to get 25 signatures and people to take the executive positions.  Due to my commitment in the CSA (Champlain Student Association), I cannot take one of these positions and the students I was working with could not either (due to different reasons).  Finding 25 signatures should be possible next semester, but we will have to put some effort into finding people to fill the executive positions, since some students are scared to be judged for being president in this type of club.

After the constitution was made, we had another meeting with Adam.  Since it was clear we would not have the time to start the club officially, we decided to make posters for anti-homophobia month, which is the month of May.  Amina created the design on a picture that we were not sure if we were able to use, so we took a picture of me a reproduced the design on this picture. 

Here is the poster:

Unfortunately, we could not get them printed in time even though they were done at the beginning of May, which was very frustrating.  I will give them to whoever takes over the club and I hope they can use them next year.

I really hope this club can start up next year, because gay rights are really important to me.  Doing my work all semester on the subject made me even more interested in the issue and I hope having this club at Champlain will promote acceptance at the college.  I hope we can find people who are brave enough to take on the executive roles and that they will try to make a difference and help students.  I think many people in the student body could be helped or influenced by this club.  To sum up, I will continue trying to get the club off the ground next semester.

As for my friend, he came out to his entire school in March and I could not be more proud of him.  People really supported him and he does not regret coming out at all.  His best friend told me he was now okay with it, but I cannot help having lost a little bit of respect for him for not being able to accept it right away.  It does not matter to me whether my friend is gay or not, he is happy, so I support him.  I hope people who can come out in 2013 can all be accepted and I hope the Born this Way club can help that happen.

As a little side note, I am posting this on anti-homophobia day.

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