Introducing Apollo’s Garden

GSA Club sponsor discusses the importance of the group
Charlie proudly stands by their students work. This is their room where not only art classes are hosted, but also the GSA Club, known as Apollos Garden, takes place. Many of these pieces represent the LGBTQ and history.
Charlie proudly stands by their students’ work. This is their room where not only art classes are hosted, but also the GSA Club, known as Apollo’s Garden, takes place. Many of these pieces represent the LGBTQ and history.
Kailee Lake

Different clubs are presented at Logansport High School. The GSA Club, known as Apollo’s Garden this year, is an LGBTQ-focused group where students can express themselves and be proud of their identity. The club director is an LHS art teacher known as Charlie among students and staff and uses them/they pronouns. They received a Master of Fine Arts from Purdue University and started teaching as a professor there. 

I loved having frank and honest conversations with my college students about their work and life,” Charlie said. “Teaching at a public high school has been a bit of a culture shock with the change in who I’m teaching.”

Charlie left due to the term lecture being semester-to-semester and a lack of security and healthcare. They are happy with their new job and glad to represent those who can show their true identities.

Charlie identifies as nonbinary, or a person on the transgender spectrum who identifies as a different gender than the one assigned at birth.

When I began unraveling the shame that I grew up with, I started to find myself in more true and authentic ways,” Charlie said.

Charlie found themself during their late teen years and started experimenting with their identity. For 10 years, they have been more open about being nonbinary. Each step has brought difficult challenges, but it’s also given them freedom.

“Be the person you needed when you were younger,” a quote they read from an article, has stuck with Charlie throughout their years of expressing themself.

Charlie found it important for younger queer people to connect with the older generations and learn the history of oppression and liberation. They also mentioned the negatives of being represented as queer, which is important in their eyes and for many students.

This is the welcome sign for the club. The poster was created by Charlie themself. Apollo represents same-gender love in Greek mythology. His nickname is the champion of male love. This is the reason why the club chose this as their logo. (Courtesy of Charlie)

Charlie has expressed many times that they are worried about backlash. Students usually don’t join GSA due to the fear of being bullied. They want to make their room a safe space for those who can’t be out about their identity. It was a difficult start for Charlie because of the lack of students being able to join. 

The difficulty of having a GSA Club in a conservative space is that kids are afraid to join,” Charlie said. “They don’t want to get hate-crimed or bullied by other students, but often they are concerned about the reaction or punishment they might receive from their parents. I have also noticed that there is more apathy around the club than active support.”

Although students are worried about the backlash, many have stated that they were glad they joined the club. They find the room the club is hosted in a comforting and a safe haven. The club is an opportunity for them to express their feelings and get feedback that doesn’t harm them.

“I would definitely recommend GSA to others since we can talk about our experiences, help each other, give great advice, and many other things that would definitely help many gay or trans people,” an anonymous lesbian student said, who chooses to remain anonymous due to safety concerns. “It may even help straight and supporting people understand the things that this growing minority is put through on a daily basis and how to help or aid friends, family members, or even struggling strangers with being comfortable about it.”

Charlie mentioned how it is still difficult when it comes to being themself. They have often been considered a snowflake, complainer, and too loud. More conservative students haven’t shown trust in Charlie while some colleagues don’t take them seriously. Despite this, they still believe this school deserves to show more diversity. Everyone within the club is treated respectfully by each other and has the right to live normal lives.

“The straight teacher who had sponsored the GSA club loved that I wanted to be a part of it, and agreed that the queer students needed a queer sponsor,” Charlie said. “I am so pleased that Mr. Hedrick stuck around and has continued to sponsor and support these students too. We need allies.”

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    Wendy Matias-PabloMar 22, 2024 at 11:23 am

    Amazing article! Charlie was my teacher last year–such an amazing and sweet instructor 🙂