Gay-Straight Alliance hosts Outlet guest speakers

Gay-Straight Alliance hosts Outlet guest speakers

Taran Sun, Staff Writer

The Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) invited guest speakers Anthony Ross and Sammy Maramba-Ferrel to share their stories with the students and support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) youths in the student community on Oct. 2.

Ross and Maramba-Ferrel are both representatives of Outlet, an organization founded in 1997 and based in Mountain View,  dedicated to supporting and nourishing LGBT youth in the community. GSA has hosted guest speakers in the past, and the presence of these speakers provides both education and a way for teens to relate to adults who have been in their situation and shared their experiences.

Ross voiced support for LGBT youths during the opening of the meeting when he said, “There is hope and plenty of people out there to support you.” Supporting and empowering LGBT youths is the shared goal of Outlet and the GSA.

Maramba-Ferrel started the presentation by stating the purpose of their visit, “You don’t have to be LGBT or queer to benefit from knowing about sexual orientation.”

Following Maramba-Ferrel’s introduction, with the members of GSA and staff sponsor Joseph Hill looking on, Ross launched into his presentation explaining how he came to settle on his identity as a male transgender.

Ross grew up in New York, “The youngest of six catholic kids,” and was comfortable being female and straight until college, when he fell in love with a girl on his basketball team. Ross came out as gay when he was 19 years old, and proceeded to gain self confidence in acting increasingly masculine throughout his 20s.

When Ross was 29, he was inspired by a transgender man who shared a life story seemingly identical to Ross’s at an LGBT gathering. After trying a few different identities concerning sexual orientation, Ross reached a point where he felt comfortable enough to change his name, body, and identity, and settled on transgender in 2010.

Ross ended his presentation by explaining that coming out as a transgender, as opposed to not exposing his sexual orientation, was “the best thing [he had] ever done in [his] life.”

Kalila Kirk and Nicole Galisatus, the co-presidents of the GSA, praised the guest speakers. Kirk said, “I really liked the presentation, and I hope Outlet will return to educate us more.” Galisatus affirmed Kirk’s feelings, and added, “I think Outlet should come to other classes to help educate the people who aren’t involved in GSA.”

The Outlet representatives were received well by GSA member Sierra Segal as well. Segal said the guest speakers were a “great way to integrate a resource like Outlet into the club,” and supported the goals of the club. Segal said these goals were to “try to create a safe environment for any LGBT people in Carlmont, and create a family and educate people in LGBT issues.”

GSA will appear in the club fair selling otter pops to demonstrate a welcoming LGBT community to Carlmont. “There is hope and plenty of people out there to support you.”

The members of the GSA Club enthusiastically greet one another before the meeting begins.