by Camille Rutherford
Southeast Campus Editor
GSA is a club often found on high school campuses. It is usually student-led and brings together LGBT+ students and straight students to provide a safe space for all students. GSA can sometimes stand for Gay-Straight Alliance or, more recently, it can stand for Gender and Sexualities Alliance.
“This is the second Out for TCC event,” said Jose Vega, program coordinator for the Dennis R. Neal Equality Center.
The event was held on National Coming Out Day. Last year’s event was held on World Aids Day.
Out for TCC encourages GSA students from area high schools to tour the Metro Campus and find out what TCC has to offer.
“We give them scholarship information and resources. They get to take a tour of the campus, they go to the arts and film studios, and they’ll also meet the Pride leaders of the TCC Pride group,” Vega said.
“We had the dean of the Center for Creativity, Annina Collier, speak and we will have the dean of Nursing, Angela Sivadon, speak and encourage them about creativity and the nursing department.”
The students also get the benefit of interacting with other Tulsa area GSA students.
“Lunch is provided by Oklahomans for Equality,” Vega said.
Oklahomans for Equality partners with TCC to put on the event each year.
At the end of the tours, introductions, and guest speaker, the students are given time to play games and win prizes before the event ends.
This year’s guest speaker for the event was Moises Echeverria, president and CEO of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice.
“He is a TCC alumni. All of our speakers we try to bring are TCC alumni to represent and show that they started at TCC and went on to do better and greater things,” Vega said.
The event is attended by several groups from within TCC. Among those is TCC’s Pride Club, represented this year by student Yuki Clarke.
“I’ve been a member of TCC Pride for about a year now,” Clarke said.
“I’m here to represent TCC Pride to new incoming students and help some of these students understand, when they come to TCC what resources and things are available to them.”
“Many of them don’t know that there are a lot of things that TCC has put in place to help [LGBT+] students, especially trans students with preferred names and such. This is an opportunity to help the club and represent TCC Pride and the LGBT community here in the best light possible.”
The event is concerned with educating potential students with what educational resources TCC has to offer to them, however, it is also intended to let these students know that there are also LGBT resources available.
“Having them come in and be happy and ready to learn is the best part that I see,” Vega said.
“Seeing all the kids happy. As they walk in, they see all the little rainbow flags that we give out and sometimes we have other identities.”
“It’s beyond the rainbow flag, we know that it’s not just LGBT, its LGBTQPDSS and so many other identities. So whenever they see that asexual flag or that pansexual flag, they feel represented and accepted and welcomed.”
The event experienced a dramatic increase in attendance this year.
“It tripled its size since last year. We had 30 students last year and this year we had 100. We have eight schools represented out of 100 students,” Vega said.
For more information on the Pride club, contact Kelly Clarke on the Southeast campus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Oklahomans for Equality, visit okeq.org.