TNE Editor

Stonewall Equality Alliance offers support system to LGBTQ students

Published 2/13/18

Tabby Talbot

TNE Writer

Young Allied Gays was formed 10 years ago. Five years later the name was changed to Gay Straight Alliance. Last year the group was given the current name, Stonewall Equality Alliance. While the name has changed, the mission has not.

SEA works to provide a safe, nonjudgmental space as a support network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allies who share a common vision for social equality at NSU.

Maddox Cott, SEA event coordinator, is a bisexual, transgender man. He said the foundation of the group is to promote tolerance and acceptance throughout the community.

“We are a community of like-minded people that understand things that some other groups may not,” said Cott. “We are a diverse group that works hard to support one another as we all strive for an education.”

DeJon Jordan, diversity and inclusion coordinator, is SEA’s campus adviser. He, too, is a member of the LGBTQ community as a gay man. Jordan said SEA is important because of the sense of community they offer to groups of student who may not find it elsewhere.

“SEA continues to make an impact on me,” said Jordan. “I see the great work they do, and they offer hope that I didn’t see as a college student. They offer an inclusive home where, no matter where you are in your journey, you can feel welcome.”

Aside from the support of a community, SEA also offers many social events. Educational tables, panels, drag shows and movie screenings are some of the events. This year will be SEA’s 10th annual drag show. The theme of this year’s show is “Over the Rainbow.”

“We have social activities and icebreakers at every meeting,” said Cott. “This gives people a chance to meet new friends. Stonewall has given me all my closest friends, and I have grown as a person and leader because of it.”

Kenley Weston, Tahlequah sophomore, joined SEA as a freshman last year. Weston said she joined SEA because she wanted to be near more people that were like herself.

“This group has benefited me by giving me more opportunities to advocate for oppressed groups and be more involved in my community,” said Weston. “I absolutely would recommend that others join.”

Any member of the NSU community is welcome to join SEA. The only requirement of membership is open mindedness to the input and ideas of the LGBTQ community. Cott said SEA has optional dues of $20 a semester that members pay in order to participate when the group calls for an official vote. Cott said there are no costs aside from the $20 fee each semester.

“SEA can be your home away from home,” said Jordan. “Get involved and seek relationships that will affirm you. If you need support seek out the office of diversity and inclusion.”

SEA meets at 7 p.m. weekly on Wednesday in UC 223.

For more information, visit the SEA Facebook page.

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