ToBeGLAD Day combats hate with celebration

Maddie Ngo, News editor

The Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Club hosted an informative series of panels to celebrate LGBTQ+ culture amid controversy during North’s annual ToBeGLAD Day Friday, April 14.

Events during c-block, f-block, and g-block highlighted the existence of queer people and celebrated their pride and achievements.

“ToBeGLAD Day is really important because it helps normalize the existence of queer people, and helps educate people on how to deal with queerphobia,” said Wren Dunkailo Minehart, a club officer.

During g-block, Missy Steak, a professional drag queen, performed in the auditorium. The event featured a Q&A where the audience had an opportunity to ask questions, and ended with Steak’s performance of Born This Way by Lady Gaga.

Ridicule from various news outlets surfaced leading up to the day. Protesters gathered in Newton Centre Thursday, April 13 in opposition to the scheduled drag queen performance. These protests were met with simultaneous counter-protests largely led by North’s student body.

Despite the controversy, the GSA pursued Steak’s performance as well as the other events of the day.

“While it was scary, the support from the vast majority of NNHS and Newton far outweighed the hate,” said biology teacher Melanie Pennison, the club advisor. “Overall we came out of this with a momentum to keep going. 

She added that due to the publicity, many outside organizations have reached out to the GSA to help plan other pride events in June. 

During c-block, the faculty panel discussed the hardships of being condemned by certain faiths that oppose their queer identity, and how to find ways to worship in an accepting environment.

“I grew up going to an all-girls Catholic school and I was often surrounded by people who didn’t accept me,” said Pennison, speaking on her experience growing up as a gay woman. “Events like these show queer youth that they are accepted and loved.”

According to Matas, it is important for queer students to see support from their school community, as it may be their only safe space.

“It’s great that ToBeGLAD Day had an impact, and that people found something in it despite the controversy,” said junior Samiya Smith, a club officer.