Diving Into “The Pond” : Roosevelt’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance Club


Members of The Pond play Uno at the end of a meeting. Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell

The Pond is a newly formed gender and sexuality alliance club at Roosevelt.  They hold meetings on Thursdays, with a mix of meetings over zoom and meetings in person.  Meetings in person are usually held in room 222A, the classroom of the adult sponsor, Ms. Booker.  The student officers are Alem Adams, Demensah Aka, and Johana Diamendoza.  While the club has a devoted group of higher ups, as with many new clubs, it is struggling to find its place in the school with a passionate student body.  The club meetings often take the form of presentations on LGBTQ+ history and ideas.  The student body, however, reacts most positively to the community aspects of the club, and the games they participate in.  The club is currently on hiatus, intended to allow for better planning.  

The Pond, in the words of the club sponsor Ms. Booker, is, “a community where all Raiders can come and be themselves without fear of judgement or discrimination”.  Demensah elaborated that it is, “focused on the LGBTQ+ community but allies are also welcome”.  The club was founded on September 22, 2022, inspired when Demensah and other clubs members wondered if there was a GSA at school.  Per Demensah’s account, “there wasn’t one so we decided to start it ourselves”.  The club event that Ms. Booker most enjoyed was, “learning about Frida Kahlo….it was nice to learn somethings about her life other then her well-known art”.  The event that sticks out to Demensah was “the walkout last year on the Florida and Texas policies”, (The “Don’t say gay” bill), “and this year, the assembly on the Virginia policies” (Youngkin’s transgender policies), although they clarified that, “this was before the club was official”.  

The club is struggling to find an interested body of student members.  For the meeting on November 3rd, 8 people of the google classroom of 57 members attended.  On the December 1st in-person meeting, the last meeting held before the announcement of the hiatus, 7 students arrived.  In the preamble before the December 1st meeting’s presentation on the Two-spirit, the student Eli said, “the club is dead”, with the officer Alem Adams responding, “kind of, a lot of people don’t really come to the club”.  Alem opened the presentation by saying, “Hello everyone, welcome, to the few people who are here.  This is probably going to be the last club meeting for a while”.  

Despite the somber tone of the meeting, it exemplified the positive qualities of the club.  The meeting was structured around Native American Heritage month, talking about two-spirit,, a term for Native American people who fulfill a gender-variant that changes their societal and ceremonial role in society.  When the presentation was done, the students gathered to play Uno, awarding LGBTQ+ related pins to the winners of the game.  During the game, the students livened up, being much more engaged then they were during the presentation.  While the attendees were few, those who were there were a tight knit group, and very welcoming. 

Members gather at the December meeting.

The Pond is a new club, struggling to find its footing.   According to a student attending the December 1st meeting, “This is why we’re going on hiatus.  This club is going nowhere”.  For the club to continue, they must find a compromise between information and community, presentation and play.  If this understanding is not met, “The Pond” may soon dry up.