Being a member of the LGBTQ community is not easy, especially when you’re young. There are so many obstacles and objections to you and your identity, coming from all sides. Your parents, peers, and people as a whole can and sometimes will object to your identity. At times, it can feel like there isn’t a place for you to go. That’s where Allies 4 Equality at Blake comes in. It’s a place for people of marginalized or alternative gender identities and sexual orientations to find a space where they can be themselves. The club isn’t just for the LGBTQ+, anyone of any gender or sexuality is welcome to join.
Allies 4 Equality is Blake’s GSA or gay-straight alliance. It’s a student-led and student-organized club aimed to create a welcoming and accepting environment for any and all students, regardless of sexuality or gender. The club is sponsored by Ms. Hajjar and Ms. Wagner. The club has gained national notoriety for activist work, having an article written about them in the Washington Post, and even working with celebrities like George Lopez.
“Every week is a little different. We start by going over our rules for anyone who’s new and then we have our LGBT person of the week feature before diving into whatever activities for the presentation we have planned. A4E is a welcoming place for anyone to come to any meeting,” says club leader senior Victoria Caplan. “Over my time in the club, we have been a support group for peers as well as an activist group. We formed a lovely community within Blake where everyone can feel free to be themselves. Our goal is simply to make Blake a safe place for LGBTQ+ students.”.
“The great thing about A4E is the people you meet. In my first year of Blake, when it was virtual, I was worried that I would have difficulty finding people to talk to, but everyone was incredibly welcoming and no one had to share something they didn’t want to,” says club leader sophomore Jay Line. “A4E stands for friendship and equality. We don’t want anyone to feel out of place, A4E is a safe space for anyone and everyone. A4E has helped improve the school climate for everyone.” Petitioning to remove the gender-specific colored robes worn at graduations, emailing schools, protesting homophobic hate and anti-trans bills is just the start to what they’ve done for the LGBTQ+ community at Blake and around MCPS.
Allies 4 Equality is an all-inclusive, welcoming place for all students. If you’re interested in joining or are unsure, follow their Instagram account @allie.the.ally. You can also join the Remind group by texting @a432021 to 81010 or join the google classroom with the code txl7wei. A4E meets Wednesdays in F301. They look forward to having another wonderful ally!