Sexuality and Gender Alliance student leaders seek to empower students

Seth Peery, a Senior in Medical Biochemistry, lounges in the LGBT Resource Center in Holton Hall. He has worked there for the last seminar, while being involved with SAGA for over three years. (John Chapple | Collegian Media Group)

Since 2010, the LGBT Resource Center has had its doors opened to the Kansas State community and the Manhattan area. The center is devoted to helping the LGBT community feel safe, productive and educated in their professional and personal surroundings.

Within the LGBT Resource Center, there are three student organizations: Out in STEM, Sexuality and Gender Alliance and Gender Collective.

Seth Peery, senior in medical biochemistry, leads the Sexuality and Gender Alliance — aka SAGA — as the group’s president.

“We work every day to make sure that students on this campus, regardless of their sexuality or gender orientation, have the tools they need to succeed and have access to resources that will help them succeed and in the institution and administration of K-State itself advocate for LGBT students,” Peery said.

Developing and maintaining a community is one of SAGA’s biggest goals.

“My goal is to build a community and organization that, when I am gone, will have the tools to continue to grow and empower others,” Peery said.

Katie Hutson, SAGA secretary and senior in English, came from a small town and said it was important to realize there is a support system on campus.

“The biggest thing for me was just knowing there was a spot on campus for people like me and there was already a community here,” Hutson said. “I came out in high school, but I didn’t really have a big community in high school of people who were necessarily like me.”

Vice President of SAGA and sophomore in business administration, Alex Grieve, said it’s nice to have the community.

“Coming here and having a club and there’s a place where you can meet people and engage in that sort of community,” Grieve said. “It’s a lot easier in my opinion.”

Peery said his real goal is to advocate for campus issues and also empower other students to do so.

“We’re better together than when we stand apart,” Peery said.

SAGA meets weekly on Thursdays in Union 206.

“We talk and lead a discussion about current issues or events,” Peery said. “We hang out and enjoy each other’s company. We do craft sometimes, but that really falls back to the community building and organizing arm. We also do things that are educational; we do things that are fun.”

To further spread the word, SAGA members also go to classes and give presentations to talk about what they do as an organization and share personal stories.

“There are presentations in class where we’re usually like, ‘We’re the queers, and here are some basic things you should know and how to treat us, and here are some of my experiences of being gay,’” Grieve said.

Hutson said the resource center makes her feel less alone.

“It’s really nice because it really does create that sense of community,” Hutson said. “You can find people who you relate to and become friends with and know that it’s not just you out in the world.”