Prism Club hosts 2nd annual Ally Rally
Anisa Jibrell – News Writer
Depending on whom you ask—some of the letters in the evolving acronym “L.G.B.T.Q.I.A,” can mean different things.
“Q” can stand for queer or questioning, and “A” for asexual or ally, a straight person who supports and accepts the LGBT person.
“There are members of the queer community who have a bit of an issue with straight allies because they feel like it’s a queer space and it’s their space,” said Eleanor Higgins, president of LGBTQIA Prism, a club dedicated to bringing awareness to the LGBT community.
Higgins said it’s important to include straight voices in the same way the black lives matter movement needs white voices.
“People listen to them more, it’s an unfortunate happenstance but it is true that they have more privilege and they get heard more,” said Higgins. “If a straight person is saying ‘listen to this,’ they’re gonna’ be heard more than I am. “
Although Higgins said there is a need for “exclusively queer spaces,” Prism is not about that.
“Education is really important to us and educating straight people is the way to make the society and the media safer for queer kids,” said Higgins.
The LGBTQIA Prism club hosted its 2nd annual Ally rally last Wednesday, an educational event that brings awareness to the LGBT community, and brings other clubs and organizations together to promote in relation to the LGBT community.
“It’s a place for people to ask some questions, get some answers and we get to promote and have fun,” said Eleanor Higgins, president of Prism.
“We’re trying to make a difference and help the LGBT community that are affected by mental health issues get through them and fight a good fight,” said Kellie Siciliano, treasurer of Active Minds, a club dedicated to spreading mental health awareness.
Prism along with the Wellness Center, Active Minds, Sexuality and Gender Equality (S.A.G.E.) Center, and the AIDS Project of New Haven set up tables outside of Hilton C. Buley Library to share information with students.
The AIDS Project of New Haven started in 1983 and provides prevention services to individuals trying to prevent HIV and services to those living with HIV, according to its prevention specialist coordinator, Barry Walters.
“In prevention what we do is we offer testing, counseling—more along the lines of behavioral counseling—and assessing what is high risk behavior and what isn’t high risk behavior for HIV,” said Walters.
The latest prevention that has been taken on is PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, said Walters, a way for people who don’t have HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day.
“The drug is Truvada and it’s been found to be highly effective in preventing HIV when it’s taken on a daily basis,” said Walters. “In a nutshell it prevents the virus from attaching to the cells that it needs to replicate in your body, so its not replacing condoms because condoms do prevent other STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and pregnancy as well.”
For those who are HIV positive, the project provides medical case management services which involves medication adherence and ensuring that clients are taking the medication they need so they are not detectable or in viral mode.
The project also provides clients with therapeutic services like acupuncture and art therapy.
“It’s been found that people who can get themselves into a creative place actually can have therapeutic effects on them,” said Walters. “We try to do just about anything we can to make life just a little bit easier.”
Photo Credit: Anisa Jibrell – News Writer