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Sexuality and Gender Equity Club aims to educate campus on LGBTQ+ issues

| Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Sexuality and Gender Equity Club (SAGE) — formerly the Sexuality and Gender Alliance Club — is a new club at Saint Mary’s that aims to educate others about gender, sex and attraction in addition to race and ethnicity.

SAGE’s future events will include discussion circles, poetry readings and storytelling. Because of COVID-19, the club will establish an online community and support system this semester in order to ensure there are resources readily available to any student who may need them.

SAGE president Francesca Giuliano said she decided to run for club president to address what she believed was a lack of support for LGBTQ+ students.

“I happened to be talking to Liz Coulston and I asked her why we don’t have some sort of gay-straight alliance on campus, and then she told me about SAGE and how they took a step back last semester,” Giuliano said. Coulston is the Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) coordinator.

Giuliano said after joining the club she became motivated to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ students, something she said was lacking during her first year.

“As a social work major too, that factors into why I’m so passionate about SAGE, and I also have friends that are in the LGBTQ+ community who I really wanted to create a safe space for,” she said.

Giuliano said she expects the journey with SAGE will be complex but expressed hope and excitement to see what the group can accomplish.

“I really want to create a space that unites allies and the community. I feel like that’s the ultimate goal for this semester, especially with incoming students and even our returning students who may have not had a normal college experience,” Giuliano said. “I want there to be a community for our students to fall back on and that’s what I’m looking to facilitate with SAGE as president this year.”

Vice president Dakota Freel shared a similar sentiment in considering the new semester. She said she decided to run to help create a more accepting culture for LGBTQ+ students.

“I ran for vice president to cultivate an accepting environment for LGBTQ+ students on campus, especially since this is a Catholic campus, it’s important to ensure that every student is comfortable expressing themselves,” Freel said.

Freel said her goal this semester is to host events that foster community and a support system for the LGBTQ+ community on campus.

“My biggest goal for this semester is creating fun, memorable events to spread awareness about our new club,” she said. “We are currently working on our official logo for cute merch, shirts and stickers.”

Freel urged anyone interested to attend the group’s events and join the SAGE GroupMe. She also offered advice to anyone who might want to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community on campus.

“It’s important to understand that you’re not alone in this experience,” Freel said. “You should be proud of your identity and stand up for what you believe in. You’ll not only inspire others by living openly, but create a stronger community.”

SAGE will table at the Saint Mary’s Activities Fair Monday, where students can stop by, learn more about the group and sign up for communications. SAGE is also planning to host two club meetings or “safe spaces” to facilitate discussions between students and establish connections.

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