The Return of SPECTRUM at BCA

SPECTRUM has been a club at BCA that serves as a safe space for LGBTQ+ students in BCA. Members have the opportunity to learn about important LGBTQ+ history/current events and host fundraisers to raise money for queer organizations. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and nobody continuing the club, meetings did not occur for a few years. Thankfully, two students decided to restart SPECTRUM.

On January 19, 2022, the first meeting of the school year took place in Mr. Kaplan’s room. The two new co-presidents, Maria Roberts and Matthew Diomidous wanted the club to provide an opportunity for members to find friends and socialize with other members of the LGBTQ+ community. Maria says, “If there’s one thing I want SPECTRUM to be, it’s a place where people don’t have to live in fear or hide such an important part of themselves because that’s the greatest force of resistance in a heteronormative society.”

In a survey that was conducted from 2016 to 2017 by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 28% of LGBTQ+ youth (with 40% of transgender youth) said that they felt depressed most or all of the time within the last thirty days. COVID-19 brought severe consequences for the mental health of queer youth, including higher rates of depression, substance abuse, and suicide. When students are in-person, they are able to get away from a home environment that may not be safe for them. However, due to the pandemic, this was not possible.

With schools going back in person this year, Maria wanted to help ease the transition for queer students and wanted the club to be something the students look forward to during their stress-filled weeks. Maria also plans to work with the administration to improve the experience at BCA for queer students.

When asked what SPECTRUM meant to them, one member of the club said, “While I’d say that BCA already has a pretty accepting environment, being able to have a space by and for queer people is really meaningful. Even for small, lighthearted conversations, it’s refreshing to be in a room where everybody understands what you are going through.”

Although SPECTRUM has still only just begun, its return means the return of a welcoming environment for a group of students at BCA. As the year goes on, the club hopes to spark change within the community and to allow students the freedom to express themselves.