On February 28, 2018, West K held a GSA Assembly during the morning of All Period Day. GSA students and Mr. Jimenez, along with the help of staff and admin, created an assembly that celebrates the dark and bright spots of LGBTQ+ history.
The morning kicked off with Grade 9 student Alyssa Pineda’s speech about LGBTQ+ history within a Canadian and global context. Alyssa talked about the hardships that the community faced but more importantly highlighted the community’s momentous victories throughout history: the creation of Pride Parades, GSAs, and the legalization of same sex marriage.
Hazim Ismail, a gay refugee from Malaysia, was next to deliver his speech. He discussed the obstacles he faced in his home country after he was outed. Hazim also talked about his eventual move to Canada and how he obtained his refugee status. Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of talking about the intersectionality of someone’s identity, and that we cannot talk about human rights issues separately. Whether it is racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, or other systems of oppression, it does not matter; we have to look at these issues in a hollistic manner.
In order to bring some levity to the assembly, West K students also came prepared with three different performances. Grade 11 student Amily Cabrera sang Andra Day’s “Rise Up” in order to emphasize that “it does get better” for the LGBTQ+ community. Three students of various grades performed an emotionally-charged lyrical dance to the tune of “Fear” by Sleeping At Last. Last but not least, a group of Grade 10-11 students waacked and vogued to various songs in order to celebrate these dance styles popularized by the LGBTQ+ community.
These performances were followed by a waacking 101 session led by Might Tapaoan, a Grade 11 student who embodies sass. Students volunteered to join this session and had a blast the entire time. Everybody’s faces lit up as they tried to learn the sass-infused choreography.
Rounding out the assembly was an unveiling of artwork made by Mr. Brasca’s art class. This piece of art (pictured above) illustrates the standard colours of the Pride flag. Notably, this art piece is a work in progress; it features speech bubbles for the students to write positive messages on. Students wrote messages such as “GO GSA” and “Love who you want to love”, showing that the future is bright for the LGBTQ+ community. GO GSA indeed.