GSA promotes gender inclusiveness

The alliance aims to spread inclusion across the JU campus



From right to left: Joseph June, Jacqueline Cano, Crystal Cruz, and Sarah Diller during an outing to watch “Love, Simon”.

Allen Tovar, Staff Writer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Being accepted can sometimes be intimidating. There is no better feeling than being with others who see and appreciate who you really are.

No matter your sexual orientation, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance club at Jacksonville University helps raise awareness and create a campus free of prejudice and discrimination towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students.

The GSA club meets Mondays at the Council building in room 134. Each week, a different topic is discussed to engage students to learn about issues in the LGBTQ community.

Jacqueline Cano, the president of the GSA club, has addressed topics on healthy relationships, poetry and art, mental health, and intersectional issues with her members.

“This semester we’ve been trying to have an assigned topic for each meeting to help us with our discussions,” said Cano. “We also keep contact with several community resources to direct students to the best place that suits his or her needs.”

Cano says new students can expect to be accepted and respected for their opinions.

However, some students don’t know much about GSA.

“I’ve seen some flyers around campus but I’m not fully aware,” said Haley Ohnstad, a sophomore at JU. “I think it’s very important for the diversity at JU to improve so it’s wonderful to have a club like GSA.”

Yet, students are still encouraged to join this semester.

Crystalgail Cruz, a member of GSA and sophomore at JU, said the GSA club wants to ensure that JU students and the community know that the university welcomes all LGBTQ minorities with open arms.

“I would definitely encourage others to join and participate, as you may get to learn something about yourself,” said Cruz. “You can gain a newfound respect for the LGBTQ community; moreover, make new friends.”

Recently, JU has supported gender inclusive movements by pushing for gender inclusive bathrooms on campus. At the same time, the university started an LGBTQ ally roommate match program for the fall, said Cano.

Finally, Cano believes that a course geared towards the understanding of the issues and history of LGBTQ community should be added to JU’s curriculum. Moreover, she also feels encouraged an supported by the JU community and members of the club.

“I am proud,” said Cano. “I’m thankful for my organization and all the wonderful people at JU that help make it possible.”