The Queer Student Union, pictured above at a recent meeting, meets during every month of the school year and is open to the entire school community.
During June, the Diversity and Community Office is leading our community in celebrating LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and other sexual identities) Pride Month. Throughout the month, students from the Queer Student Union (QSU) will share parts of their culture with the UPrep community. Below, 11th grade student Claire C. writes about Pride Month and her highlight from co-leading the QSU this schoolyear.
Pride Month is a celebration in many ways, and I am, of course, excited to be a part of giving students time to celebrate themselves in my organizing role as a QSU co-leader. But what I look forward to most is the opportunity it creates to reach out and establish good practices of allyship in our community. I hope everyone can take advantage of the increase of conversations surrounding the LGBTQ+ community that occur in and out of school during this month.
Pride Month is a time of the year when it is easiest to learn something and simply showing up to events means so much. At 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 2, in the Commons meeting room, Jody Hall, the founder of Cupcake Royale and Wunderground Coffee, will speak to what it is like to be a queer businessowner. During Middle School and Upper School lunches on Friday, June 3, in the Commons meeting room, Lor Sabourin will talk about their experience as a community leader in the climbing and LGBTQ+ communities. Keep a look out for more guest speakers and other events at school this month.
It is also quite important to know that involvement doesn’t have to stop at the end of June. Allyship is a year-round practice. The QSU meets during every month we are at school and is open to the entire school community. While I love the opportunity that this month provides, I hope that it can serve as a starting point for continued allyship rather than an isolated experience.
I am a firm believer in the power of community. One of the things that I value most about my role as co-leader of UPrep’s QSU is my ability to provide a space for queer students. I feel that even just the knowledge that our club exists and is open to every student can make a difference for those that are struggling with their identity in any way. As every student comes into the Upper School, I want them to hear about us at the club fair and know that the QSU is a resource for them in whichever way they need it throughout the year. It can be a place to spend time with peers that share an identity or learn how to be a better ally.
One of my favorite moments of being a QSU leader this year was when I helped to host the LGBTQ+ affinity space during Social Justice Day. The group of students in that space had so much fun and so many great conversations, whether or not they were closely following the prompts we gave them. This was one of the only times during the year that Middle School and Upper School students had a chance to spend time together. So much of the power of that space came from just the number of people in the room and the knowledge that we all shared a common identity. I felt very proud of the community that we have at UPrep as I walked around the room and heard snippets of both laughter and thoughtful conversation coming from the group.
In conversations I have had with my QSU co-leader Coleman H., 11th grade, after Social Justice Day, we kept bringing up how much we enjoyed the affinity space. It was an experience that stuck with both of us. Although much of the success of the space came from the participants in the conversations, I walked away from that experience feeling empowered in the value of my role as a leader. I am so grateful for every opportunity I have had to play a part in empowering my community at UPrep. I am confident that during Pride Month and every other month, that we can call forth that sense of joy that we felt in the affinity space and continue to create a home with the students at our school.