GSA Alum Panel

On Tuesday, April 28th three Greenwich Academy alums returned and spoke after school hours in the Student Center. Georgie Summers, ’90, Lyle Kash, ’09, and Anna Mullen, ’05, spoke to an eager crowd of their former teachers and members of the Brunswick and Greenwich Academy GSAs (Gay Straight Alliances) about their experiences at GA and beyond. They were open to any questions from the people in attendance, students and teachers alike, both groups of which came out in force.

The three alums all took time to talk about the state of LGBT organizations at GA, or a lack thereof, during their times here. Anna remembered that the GSA from her time at GA, a group known as Perspectives, had been founded by a girl “who had been trying to piss off her dad” and three of her friends, all of whom were allies. There had been no LGBT institutions at GA when Georgie attended. While talking about the lack of an LGBT organization during his time at GA, however, Lyle made a point to emphasize how the current GSA should work to mesh LGBT issues with other hot topic issues, such as racism or sexism in our community and in the larger community around Greenwich.

Many experiences at GA were spoken about at the panel, including Lyle’s personal decision not to wear a dress at the GA graduation. Lyle prefaced the story with a thought from his senior year: “I realized … I was a dude running around with a skirt on.” While Lyle faced some questions from the wider community (it was a rare request, after all), the school supported the decision and helped Lyle find a way to wear a white outfit that supported the unity of graduation and the personal choice of not wearing a dress.  

Another recurring theme was the difference between high school and college. Anna spoke to a large degree about this difference, and how, in college, she simply met more people of the LGBT community.

The most striking moment of this whole night, however, did not stem from a great story of success or of failure. It stemmed, instead, from the simple imperative, “be authentic”. Georgie, over the course of the evening, tended to enter the conversation between her fellow alums smoothly and calmly, and she successfully tied the struggles of the LGBT community to the struggles of humankind as a whole. The struggle for authenticity, exemplified in the struggle of whether to come out or to remain closeted, touches the very heart of the LGBT movement. But this struggle exists in all people, in many different forms, uniting all of us.

After reflection, the GSA members had very specific and inspiring things to say about the panel. During the panel Chris Cassidy ’16 said, “I can’t explain how much this experience means to me. This is just really awesome.” The faculty in the room also praised the event and another student, Bella Cartularo ’16 said, “The opportunity to have alums come back and tell us about their experiences after GA, and that they were able to make it out of Greenwich and create exciting lives for themselves, was truly uplifting. I hope we are able to do this again in the future with alums from both campuses.”