On January 31, GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance) hosted the second annual Project Prism. Project Prism is an event designed to bring together LGBT+ students and allies, discuss LBGT+ topics, and have fun! It was first organized last year by the 2018-2019 GSA presidents, Vivienne G. ‘20, and Anna G. ‘19. This year, it was organized by the current presidents, Vivienne G. ‘20 and Jenna S. ‘21.
Pictured: Jenna S. ‘21 (left) and Vivienne G. ‘20 (right). Photos courtesy of Sophie W. ‘23.
Project Prism has free admission and is open to all high school students from all different schools, allowing for a diverse conversation. This year it was successful with candid conversations, high energy, great participation, and overall good vibes. In order to get an idea of why Project Prism was created, I asked one of the founders and current president, Vivienne G., why she decided to host Project Prism and what her ambitions for the event were:
Since the ninth grade, I dreamed about creating Project Prism, because I wanted to build a space for LGBT+ students and allies to speak about their experiences, listen to different perspectives, and see LGBT+ visibility and affirmation in our school. Anna G. and I brought the event to life last year, and it surpassed my dreams, as not just a space for learning and growth, but also a fun, inclusive space for individuality and connection. I was thrilled to work with Jenna S. to build a second Project Prism, and again, it was wonderful because of the candor and enthusiasm of those who attended. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to have this experience, and I am proud that I was able to build something to support the community in this way.
So what happened at Project Prism?
For the first part of the event, attendees mingled with others and enjoyed the snacks and drinks. Then, after a brief discussion about the conversation norms of the night, attendees participated in a fun “get-to-know-you” game called “the winds of change” that was a big hit among everyone at the event. It helped bring people out of their shells and provide a fun and safe atmosphere.
After this fun icebreaker, leaders Jenna S. and Vivienne G. prompted candid discussions with various statements, and attendees could then position themselves anywhere on a spectrum from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”. This game prompted excellent all-group conversation about speaking up against homophobic remarks, the responsibility of school to have a LGBT+ inclusive education, whether or not allies are welcome in places such as pride parades and other queer spaces, and many more.
The first topic was surrounding pronoun usage and the trans (or ally) experience. I felt that I never had to try to "facilitate," per se, because it was really just a laid-back discussion wherein everyone felt welcome because everyone was actively working to welcome others. - Nick G. ‘21
After the discussion groups, everyone regathered for a debrief of the event, talking about their takeaways. Project Prism concluded with time for energizing music (especially King Princess), mingling, food, and fun. Everyone loved socializing with new people and jamming along to music over the speaker, finishing with a break-out sing-along to Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts”. By the end of the night, everyone left with memories of the community that formed, the new friends they made, the great discussions, laughs, and fun.
“I had a lot of fun at the event, it was a great atmosphere! Everyone was very friendly and there for a good time. “ - Charlotte B. ‘23
GSA hopes to continue this annual event in future years, as it is a great way to bring together a community of people who identify with or are an ally to the LGBT+ community. Going forward, it is important to show support for this community (whether you are a part of it or an ally) by participating in organized events like these. Another way to show support is to participate in Day of Silence, which is held on the second Friday in April and is a great way to show solidarity for LGBT+ students who feel as though they do not have a voice. Outside of organized events, it is key to stay informed about LGBT+ news both nationally and internationally. Finally, to help the community push back against homophobia and discrimination, stand up when you hear something that doesn’t sound right. Call in and educate.