Meet the Founder of the LGBT club, Paislie McNutt

Everyone knows that HC at Brenau is one of those organizations that loves giving credit where credit is due. Since it is Women's History Month, this week we are recognizing the Founder of the LGBT club at Brenau University, Paislie McNutt.

 

Name: Paislie McNutt

Graduation year: WC ‘14

Major: B.S. Psychology

Minor: History & Political Science

 

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Honestly, I just love spending quality time with those I care about most. Although most of my spare time is studying for my Master’s program (Clinical Mental Health Counseling), I try to enjoy the outdoors with my dog and girlfriend.

 

It seems like everyone at Brenau knows you. Why do you think that is?

I am humbled to hear you feel that way. Following my first year at Brenau I decided to dedicate more of my time to the school. Given the breadth of my interests, I found myself involved in a variety of groups. I was a senator for SGA and in my last year I became parliamentarian; Golden STAR , I played quad for drum line, I sang contralto for Gospel Choir, I was Vice President of Psychology Club and of Ecofriends, I was Aurum staff, a Resident Assistant, a 2013 Spring initiate for the Tau Eta chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, and President of LEO . Even so, there was a time I almost did not return to Brenau, which I am very happy was not the case. Thanks to a few individuals who inspired me to truly live by the Brenau Ideal, I want to not only push forward but take strides in bettering the Brenau community. I also truly care about the connections I make with those who cross my path, for which Facebook has been pretty handy!

 

Tell me about LEO, and why you thought it was important that an LGBT club be on campus?

Love Every Orientation (LEO) exists to create a friendly environment where members can come together for an evening of fun while also providing a safe haven to help us grow as individuals. It was important to me to establish an LGBT organization since there currently was no active group on campus for the community. I wanted not the LGBT community to join but the supporters as well. A big goal of mine was to educate and build camaraderie both within the LGBT community itself and between the LGBT community and its non-LGBT allies. We attended Savannah Pride, held multiple movie nights and bake sales, and even threw a gender-bender ball which was a fun success!

Did you have any difficulty having SGA or faculty approve the club? Why or why not?The biggest difficulty in chartering was making sure I had all the proper paperwork in place since I was starting from scratch. My previous experiences as President of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and as a member of an LGBT youth group (Stand Out Youth (SOY)) in Savannah helped me find myself when I was first coming out. I was very lucky to have a group to be able to talk to and to build camaraderie and rapport with. With LEO, I thankfully had Dr. Heather Casey as advisor, whose helped me through each step as well. Even so, presenting LEO at Senate was nerve-wracking; however, the majority voted for the club and before I could process it, LEO passed. I immediately called my girlfriend and officers to share the news.

 

How important is it to you that different intersections of women be recognized during Women's History Month?

Very important. Women have overcome a lot of adversity thus far, but we can’t and mustn’t stop there. I believe life is about constant change, which means individuals should always seek knowledge, both knowledge about what affects us directly but especially knowledge about what affects us indirectly. It is through getting to know others that we truly understand ourselves and begin to make a better tomorrow for both us and future generations.

What do you think of the name of LEO being changed to identity? I am sad to see the name change, but at the same time I think the new name allows more room for interpretation. As LEO, someone could imply that an individual may only identify as one of various orientations when as a community there is so much more than orientation. There is gender, orientation, sex, and identity- which in essence is what makes us, us. I have attached an informative photo to help describe these in a more creative way - The Genderbread Man.

Are you still involved with Identity?

Sadly, no. I would love to help out in any way I can though, especially for an organization I had the pleasure to charter and run for the few years I was at Brenau. J So for now, hopefully in the future.

Do you think Brenau has learned anything from the LGBT club being on campus? If so, what do you think they have learned and are you satisfied with what they've learned?

Absolutely. I have had several students come to me and ask questions that I believe they would otherwise not have considered or not have felt comfortable asking. At the Gender Bender ball, we invited drag queens from Atlanta, which - to my knowledge, was a first for many of the students attending. I also remember showing a documentary with reversed social norms (homosexuality as the norm instead of heterosexuality) and being able to shift direction on how to view what the world might look like in an alternative universe. It brought on a lot of emotions and discussion that I feel was a rewarding learning experience for all those attending. A powerful event for me in particular is Day of Silence, where we maintain our own silence to echo the silence of those that cannot speak either because they are afraid or because they have committed suicide. Even so, while I feel Brenau has learned from LEO, I am not satisfied. I believe LEO has only scratched the surface and that there is still much to teach and to advocate for on behalf of both Brenau’s LGBT community and the LGBT community at large.

 

LEO was founded Feburary 2nd at 2pm in Owens 2nd floor, 2012.