Pride Coalition prospers as it expands horizons in 2021

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Photo by Karina Murray '22

The pride coalition hosts many events including a celebration of Pride Club last year outside the cafeteria.

Among the countless clubs that Staples has to offer, the Pride Coalition has remained a prominent safe space for all members or allies of the LGBTQ+ community who choose to participate. Though the club is not new, the 2021-22 school year has invited a new level of dedication and commitment for many of its members, boasting its very own newsletter and even expanding its community into the middle schools.

“The newsletter installment is to spread information about LGBT news and history to Staples and to better educate students who are not affiliated with the club,” Pluto Schnirring ’22, president of the club, said.

The most recent edition of the newsletter, released December 2021, features inspirational LGBTQ+ quotes as well as personal stories about identity struggles and national news regarding the community. 

William Vanamee ’25, a journalist for The Pride Periodical, explained the newsletter’s origin. 

“The project was originally produced exclusively by Lily Caplan, but The Pride Periodical is slowly expanding as more members show interest,” he said.

The newsletter and the club is largely student-run, but science teacher Kayla Iannetta and math teacher Nicole Giuliani act as advisors to the club and have played a substantial role in contributing to its success. 

“[Spreading LGBTQ+ rights] is my passion,” Iannetta siad. “I didn’t have a good high school experience. I was pretty closeted and I had a couple experiences here before I was an advisor where I helped a couple of closeted kids go through some tough times, so when I got asked to advise last year, I just blew up with ideas.”

Spreading LGBTQ+ rights] is my passion. I didn’t have a good high school experience. I was pretty closeted and I had a couple experiences here before I was an advisor where I helped a couple of closeted kids go through some tough times, so when I got asked to advise last year, I just blew up with ideas.”

— Kayla Iannetta

One of Iannetta’s main goals is to increase middle school pride and visibility through the club.

“I fought really hard for the middle school [involvement] last year,” Iannetta said. “I asked the high schoolers what their experience in the community has been in school, and they had a lot of not great things to say, starting off with in middle school, because that’s when we start diving into our identities[…] I thought, we should probably have these programs in the middle schools so kids don’t have to hide until they get to high school.”

The club recently completed their second trip to the middle schools and have classified their effort as a success. While meetings at Staples consist of a more formulaic agenda, with discussion and planning of upcoming events first and socialization after, middle school meetings consist of pure socialization and discussion of changes they would like to make in the community in order to increase inclusion and visibility. The meetings serve as a place for young members of the LGBTQ+ community to navigate their identities in an environment in which they can relate to others. 

“The middle schoolers really wanted to focus on getting more gender neutral bathrooms and find a way to have gender neutral locker rooms[…]the kids really want to change the community which I think is really cool,” Iannetta said. 

Though the club serves as a place to make a change in the world around its members, it is first a place to make a change in the immediate lives of its members. 

“My favorite part of the club is the community we’ve been able to create for the LGBTQ students at Staples,” Schnirring said, “and the home it’s given me for the past four years.”