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Rainbow Connection (IC)

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Fall 2019 

Claremont Academy Gay-Straight Alliance 

First Meeting of the Year 


The tables were set with neatly baked rainbow cupcakes that Judy felt no more than the slightest temptation to eat, the walls hung with rainbow flag images and pictures from LGBT history, and the Recording Secretary of the Claremont Academy GSA (the only member of the club who hadn't graduated last year) was ready to greet the new arrivals as they headed into the converted classroom. She'd been a little nervous her first meetings as her sister's 'ally', sitting in a room full of people she'd been taught to believe were wrong, but Ashley's refusal to take an active role in the club had forced her to take an active role herself, and within a few months she'd found herself fitting right in. We gotta get some new members this year, she thought with a glance at Ashley, I can't be above secretary, because I'm an ally! With a smile, she flung open the door, gold cross gleaming around her neck, and said, "Howdy, y'all! Welcome to the GSA!" 


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White Lioness

Àjàṣorò enjoyed much of American culture but some of there social idea confused her no end, it had been something she’d want to investigate but last years was a blur of responsibility. Luckily things right now was a little more balanced so she’d found time to attend a few club and socialise a little bit more.


”Thank you for the welcome, I hope I’m not too early.” Though she wasn’t hiding her identity as much she still kept the American accent.


This should be fascinating, and hopefully not as drama filled as Claremont tended to be.

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Mia shuffled up awkwardly to the door, looking even less comfortable in her own skin than she normally did. She didn't know why she felt so off, given that she had been in LGBT spaces her whole life. Her mom had been dating women pretty consistently, her godmom was a trans woman and her family had been involved in Pride stuff since before most people were cool about it. Yet she felt like a bit of an impostor.


"Oh, hey, Judy," she said, managing eye contact for only a second. "Keep running into you, heh..."


Was she here as an ally? Or something else? She didn't know, because somehow at 16 she hadn't figured this out yet. 16, when most people had already been with someone, and here she was. Being her. It wasn't like she was repressing anything. No, she was just, in her own humble opinion, weird.


She had thought about wearing a rainbow shirt to this, but that seemed to be really presumptuous, so she chickened out and wore a hoodie with the words "loading: sarcastic comment" above a little loading bar, along with some purple tights with black bats to fit with the season.


"Mind if I... Like... Yo. I'm here."

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"Welcome, welcome everyone!" said Judy with a warm smile - Ashley nodding from where she stood by the punchbowl, arms crossed over her Rammstein T-shirt. "There are snacks, and drinks, and Ah can put on some music in a little while if everyone's interested." Ooh, I didn't know AJ and Mia were gay! I'll have to keep that in mind. She bestowed big, very very warm hugs on her friends. "Ah'm so glad we're getting a turnout this year, Ah was worried when hardly anyone took one of our pamphlets on club day." She stopped to greet another small cluster of students wandering in, who seemed a little bemused to find their host looking like a character from a show they play at Sunday school to entertain the little kids. 


"Hey," offered Ashley, giving a short nod to the White Lioness and Soliton. 

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Nick shuffled into the classroom with his hands in his pockets. His usual attire remained with the first appearance of a Black Sabbath t-shirt. The kid really must have a stack of band shirts. He didn't look so much nervous or fidgety, his default state if not focused on some project or another. Tired described him better. Classmates knew he didn't really do much in class besides doodle and daydream. He must still be losing sleep.


Seeing him at GSA was interesting for the obvious reason. Him popping up at yet another club came as another. Being from the flat desolation of central Iowa, no secret on his part, must have motivated him to see what he could. In any event, he looked like a fish out of water. Which definitely defined his default demeanor.


Stopping just inside the door, Nick assessed the room. A look of surprise crossed his face. Not at any one person it seemed but the general number of visitors. Whether higher or lower than anticipated, only Lulu could say. He smiled warmly and waved to Judy as he bee-lined to the cupcakes. Before snagging one for each hand, Ashley's shirt prompted another smile and the sign of the horns in her direction. Metal, the universal language.


For the moment, he looked content to nibble on the cupcakes and nod greetings to his classmates.

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"Did you tell them there would be cupcakes?" Elizabeth had not entered through the door, which probably meant she was trying to be clever and subtle...with all the usual success of an Elizabeth attempting casual, social subtlety. She was dressed simply, a pale blue blouse hanging loose over trim white pants, and the mask at her hip had three stripes down the length of it - pink, yellow, and blue.


She also had about one-and-a-half cupcakes, plus a bit of frosting on one side of her mouth that she swiped up with one finger. "There isn't a lot of hate at school, so maybe people didn't think it was that big a thing?" she said, flashing an open smile and a friendly wave toward new arrivals. The wave reminded her of the frosting, and she paused long enough to pop the finger into her mouth. "But I bet you'd have half the school here if they'd known about the cupcakes, these are great."

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Mia awkwardly rubbed the back of her neck, heading further into the room. She looked at the snacks, but found she wasn't hungry. Of all the things to get worker up about, this was probably the dumbest, but here she was. Getting worked up.


"So, uh... Hmn," she said, trying to find the words. "I don't actually... Know what I am. Like straight or gay or... Neither... I haven't really ever been into anyone before. Not really. So I might be here as an ally or something else. I don't know."


She frowned. "That's probably really dumb because like, who doesn't know but hey, that's me... Haha..." Mia looked at everyone, sinking a bit. "Anyway, lots of people who're really close to me are LGBT like my mom and my godmom and stuff so I can at least show my support while I get my ☠☠☠☠ sorted out."

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"Ah brought pie!" Lulu Beaumont entered the room with her gramma's famous key lime pie, with a circle of rainbow toothpick flags stuck in the top. She was wearing black jeans and Hi-Tops, and a pink shirt with a rainbow flag on it. Technically, it was an illusion of a rainbow flag, which explained why it appeared to be flapping in an invisible breeze.


The young Alabaman wasn't sure if she was much of an ally to the LGBT+ community; back home, she'd done very little publicly to further their cause. Growing up in a very conservative small Southern town, she'd had no real contact with any 'alternative' sexualities or orientations, and wouldn't have known what to say to them if she did.


But she'd been a telepath be since she was ten, long before she had any concept of respect for privacy. She knew every secret Columbia, Alabama had, and there were more than a few people living in the closet, terrified of the judgement they'd face if their secrets were revealed. At first she found it silly, then increasingly sad and finally tragic; lives spent half-lived in shadows. She didn't know what to do for them, so she'd merely watched and witnessed their suffering, and felt awful inside.


So now she was here, in the hope that she could do better; she hoped the pie was a good start.

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White Lioness

Àjàṣorò went around and gave everyone that wanted a big friendly hug and a smile, she might have been a little distracted but she was still a gregarious and friendly person.


I hope they’ll come for more than the cakes, as excellent as I’m sure they are! Maybe we should use some to raise some money to donate to a cause? Some keep talking about that show about the bakers, I assume such things are popular?”


Cakes she was pretty sure about, attitudes on LGBT+ here she was less sure about. Whilst a few clan had some weird ideas her homeland was fairly open to such things, though like most place there was room to improve. So she wasn’t quite sure what to say in support, she was here to learn as much as anyone here.

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Elizabeth had the distinct impression she was getting the eye from Ashley in the wake of her abrupt arrival, but that was by now a perfectly familiar look from the surly teen. 


"Ah think that's an excellent idea," said Judy brightly. "We sure could use some money coming in - hi everybody!" She greeted another group of students as they entered, steering them towards seats and food, respectively. She'd even anticipated the idea that other people would bring their own meals; and there were little plates and plastic knives for the pie too. "Thanks, Lulu!" 

Taking her seat again, Judy gave Mia a bright smile. "Well we're sure glad you're here," she said cheerfully. "Ah'm just an ally myself on behalf of my sister, so Ah want to make sure we get a chance to let LGBT people center their own experiences here." It was obviously a rehearsed speech, but one she gave with feeling. "Ah'm glad you like the cupcakes," she told Elizabeth, "Ah baked 'em all myself!" 



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Mia didn’t know, exactly, how to respond to Judy. She had been expecting either chastisement, which will while not pleasant would have at least confirmed her fears, or consolement, which would have made her feel better. But she didn’t know what to do with passive acceptance. She knew it was petty to be annoyed - it wasn’t up to Judy to figure out her problems, but she was anyway. Validate me, damnit!


“Uh… Thanks, Judy,” she said, masking her frustration as best she could with a smile.


Ugh, she was the woooorst. How could she get mad at Judy for the absolutely normal person response to something like this? She moved over to the cupcakes, and began to wolf one down to sate her roiling brain. Ah, man, they’re good, too, she said, adding just yet another reason to be mad at Judy.


She looked over at Ashley. Wait. She’s LGBT? She looked down at Ashley’s Rammstein shirt, then up at her. “Huh.”

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Abigail was quietly seated, keeping to herself and doodling in her sketchbook when her roommate entered the classroom.  The young mage peeked out over her book but otherwise said nothing, her cheeks heating slightly.


It had been quite some time since the fight with the Giant Krampus, the cocoa and her sisters helping the sorceress puzzle out some of the distress she was feeling.  Something she still never brought up with Liz because, frankly, Abby was terrified of saying anything and potentially ruining their friendship.


So she gave her roommate a small smile and a nod in greeting, gave some of the other new arrivals a similar gesture, and then turned her attention back to her book.

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When she heard about the GSA meeting, Monica was quite conflicted. On one hand, she enjoyed the idea, and thought about attending. On the other, not only was she fairly high-profile after everything that had happened during summer, she was also quite aware that a lot of people had soured on her over it. And that meant drama, at the one place she was totally fine not having any of that.


Still, she kind of had to go, right? Just to know what was going on directly. With her hoodie drawn over her head, and wearing the most low-profile outfit she could (which, truth be told, wasn’t different from what she wore most of the time), she entered the room right behind a larger group of students, quickly taking a seat towards the back of the room and observing. If anybody looked at her she did her best to not notice, or, if she trusted them, just gave them a slight nod. Hopefully that’d be enough to signal that she wanted to stay low-profile.


And if not, her room wasn’t that far fortunately.

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Nick figured out a couple of things between cupcakes. One, the cupcakes were among the best he ever had. Barring his grandmother's, but bias may have been in play there. Two, the room had a certain tension. He couldn't put his finger on it precisely. Judy played a gracious host and tried to break the ice. Yet the arrivals felt rather awkward. Hesitant even. Àjàṣorò tried valiantly. Nick knew Lulu would likely try the same.


How then to get the ball rolling? Thankfully, the other cupcake brought his fidgeting under control. Still his gaze crossed the room looking a little confused as well as out-of-place. He really had no clue how a meeting like this should proceed. Although unknowing, Lulu and Nick came from similar situations. The Iowan may be coming out of his shell a bit, but this situation came completely uncharted.


During his musings, Nick gave a thumbs up at Elizabeth's praise of the cupcakes. Nick's enthusiasm seconded their high quality. Pie beckoned though. Nick moved away from the snack table to make room for Lulu and Mia. Lulu didn't need telepathy to know the target of his next snack attack.


He smiled and nodded in greeting to Mia as Lulu set down the pie. Letting things develop naturally was the safe bet. That thought seemed to placate him a bit, judging from his shoulders relaxing.

Edited by Dariusprime
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"The cupcakes are really good," Elizabeth probably said around a mouth full of cupcake. She had, at least, the good sense to swallow before moving on. "As for, um, ☠☠☠☠," she added, glancing at Mia with a raised finger, "I think a lot of people don't know? I don't spend a lot of time online but online's full of people figuring things out really late or changing who they are or wondering or...whatever. I figure, not being sure is just a head start? Unless, you know," she said, pausing for a bite of cupcake, "you like pretty much everyone because pretty much everyone is really great. Hey, Abby!"


Abigail got a wave, cheerful and unassuming. Liz had figured Abby would be here. Maybe she'd find someone she liked! "There are more people here than I expected. That's...kind of encouraging, actually?"

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Ashley shot Mia a look that said What? with an eloquent eyebrow raise and arm-spread.


But what Judy said was, "It really is. Ah think it's wonderful that so many people came out to show their support for our community." Folding her hands in front of her primly, Judy said, "Now Ah think the first order of business needs to be deciding who's gonna be in charge during this coming year. Ah may have taken on a role as social planner and chief cook," she said with a little wave around the room that took in cupcakes, banners, and all. "but Ah am certainly not qualified to run a group that should be for our LGBT community." She made a little gesture that took in Ashley, then several more students. 


"Ah want you all to know that this is a safe space, where it is safe to come out and be yourself, whether that's loud and proud or just keepin' things on the downlow." She winked at everybody, then said, "Mah own story is a simple one - Ah have been an ally ever since Ah started coming here in Ashley's company. Ah never knew that there were places like this in the world, and Ah wouldn't trade it for anything. Does anyone else want to share their story? After that, we need to decide who our club officers are gonna be, otherwise we'll never be able to get the Thanksgiving party organized in time!" 

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"Why does anyone need to be in charge?" Mia asked. "Historically, hierarchy hasn't exactly been LGBT friendly and mostly exists to perpetuate harmful systems that, like... Hurt marginalized groups. It might set a better precedent if multiple voices can be allowed to come together and make decisions in an egalitarian sorta way."


She paused, and then rubbed her arm. "I mean, that's just what I think. I don't want to speak over anyone. But... Yeah."


She sighed. 


"Anyway, you all heard my story. I don't know what I am, but I've been around LGBT people all my life, in my family and otherwise and no matter what I am, I am happy to stand beside people and show solidarity."

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Lulu was cutting and serving pie as the discussion started, and the ideological differences between Judy and Mia (Lawful vs Chaotic) quickly became clear. Maybe she could help find a middle path? "Maybe not a leader, but people assigned or choosin' specific tasks? Because sometimes you need accountability; some folks won't move their ass unless you switch it."


She paused and cleared her throat. "Ah, uh...ah can go next, ah suppose. As some of you may know, ah grew up in a small town in Alabama; three churches, three fireworks stands. It was not a safe place to be out, or think differently at all, for that matter." She winced slightly. "Ah'm straight myself, and ah didn't have any queer friends or family." Then she stopped and raised a finger. "Nope, that ain't right; ah had two cousins, Maybelene and Joseph, but they weren't out to anyone. And that's the thing."


She took a deep breath before continuing.


"Ah been a telepath since ah was ten, and when your that small, you ain't...you ain't fully formed yet, morally, 'specially if you grow up in a den of thieves. The point is, ah knew everybody's secrets back in Columbia; who they was cheatin' on who, who was hittin' who. And ah knew who was gay...and who was sufferin'...and who was terrified to tell their daddy, 'cause their daddy would disown `em. "


And now tears of shame rolled down her cheeks.


"And ah never helped...ah was never an ally to any of them. Ah just watched them die inside, because ah was scared; scared to be seen with 'em, scared to help. And ah hate myself for it. But ah'm not scared anymore; ah want to help now, and for the rest of mah life. Ah want to be an ally"

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"I...like girls," said Ashley suddenly from where she stood in the corner. She reached behind her head and tugged at her short hair, a gesture oddly familiar to anyone who spent a lot of time with her sister. "Growing up, I didn't think I needed places like this, either because I was too busy, or because of...whatever." She shook her head. "I missed a lot of time not thinking about it...and I just want to make sure people who need it have places like this." 


"...well, okay," said Judy, giving her sister an odd look for a moment before she looked back to the others. "Anyway, Ah'm sure it's possible to run the club as some kind of...commune," she said a little awkwardly in Mia and Lulu's direction, "but we do have to have club officers if we're gonna be an official club, even if they don't actually have any power." 

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As the stories began, Nick began looking more ill-at-ease again. In this case, the awkwardness began creeping back into his shuffling in place. Eventually, he steeled his courage and began signing. Realizing the obvious issue, out came the battered tablet he usually carried.


Frowning and shuffling, he held up the tablet like at chest level. The framed message and stance looked like a mug shot. The tablet read, "I haven't spoke to my favorite cousin since I was eight. My family cut off contact." The message only displayed for a few seconds.


Tablet on the table, Nick held out his arms in offer of a hug to Lulu. Looked like she needed one. Then he offered to Mia, Ashley, and Àjàṣorò. Àjàṣorò hadn't shared yet, but her earlier round of introductions keyed her as a hugger. Nick had been otherwise engaged with cupcakes at the time.

Edited by Dariusprime
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"I feel like I probably have it better than a lot of people," Liz admitted, looking sheepish; she was now out of cupcakes, but wasn't making an effort to steal more. "I have one brother who's gay, and my parents pretty pointedly ask everyone but him how their relationships are doing when we're all at dinner. But he is still invited to dinner, you know? I kind of think they're just waiting for him to get over it and give them grandchildren or something."


She shrugged, a full-body motion that might have been cartoonish if it was any less sincere. "I like...pretty much everybody, everybody's pretty great, even if it's a lot more, um, theory than practice." She was working on that. It was also something she probably wouldn't bring up at the dinner table. "If I got into a relationship they didn't like, though, they might still be kind of grateful I'm out there living and I really don't know how that would all work. For now they don't know or probably do know but don't ask questions."

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Several more students shared their personal stories - and Judy was struck by how mundane they all were. Oh there were variations to it all; but when it was a boy afraid to come out to his conservative parents or a girl only able to be her true self here at the school, it didn't really matter if one was from a cult of Odin-worshipping Asatru in the forests of Canada or the other from another dimension run by the Communists. Family was family, and problems were problems. She offered hugs when they looked like they were needed, and as she took her seat she had a heavy heart. 


"Ah am so sorry you've all had to go through this," she said sympathetically. "This club is going to be a place that offers you a safe haven. But first, we've gotta pick our officers. Ahmed, if you do want to be treasurer, Ah think you'd do a great job, Ah've seen you in math class." They did a vote by hands, and Ahmed was indeed the new treasurer. "So that just leaves President and Vice-President before Ah step down as secretary..." She turned and looked at Mia and Elizabeth, obviously asking a question with her eyes. 

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As people discussed their families, their upbringing, and the pain they witnessed or themselves felt, Abigail set her sketchbook aside and gave each one her quiet but undivided attention.  It was clear from her expression--and the crown of three flames that flickered above her head--that, as the others spoke, she was wrestling with her own thoughts and feelings.


She barely heard what Judy said before she opened her mouth, giving the other girl a small apologetic smile.


"I'm not from Canada," she began without preamble.  "I'm not even from Earth, Prime or otherwise.  I'm from a realm called the Netherworld, where the ruler did not permit me to have a childhood."


"From the moment I could crawl I was being turned into a weapon against my father, to breach the Master Mage's defenses and allow Una to conquer and subsume Prime into her realm.  It was better for me to be.. incomplete."


"I never thought about who I was attracted to before.  My feelings and desires were something I was never really encouraged to explore before.  Since coming to Prime, I've learned a lot.  My father has died, and someone else is the Master Mage now, but my foster family has helped me through some things."


"One of them is a literal ghost," she added brightly, smiling a bit before her expression turned introspective once again.  "Liz met her," she added, blushing slightly as she looked at her roommate.


"Like I said, I never really thought about attraction before, on a personal level.  But then that giant Krampus attacked the Academy and ... like Ash, I like girls too."


She sank back into her chair, and hoping nobody noticed the parts she deliberately left out at the end.

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Mia's eyebrows flew up at the implication that she should be anywhere near any sort of official position. "I... Uh... I mean, like... I guess? I'm not going to say no, but... Shouldn't it be someone who actually knows what they are? I don't want to be stepping on anyone's toes. I mean... If people are okay with it, I guess, sure, then."


But then, Abby started to speak, and Mia's heart kind of bled for the girl. She had no idea how to deal with any of that. Yeah, her mom was an ex-supervillain but their relationship was pretty sunny, and she'd never been expected to be a literal weapon. But she did understand having to hold back a part of herself. That part was something she was unfortunately fairly intimate with.


"Abby... I am so sorry that has happened to you. But I'm glad you found that about yourself. Your feelings matter, and don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise."

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Nick didn't really know what else to do. His appointed rounds complete, including offering a hug to Abby, he hovered by the snack table and accepted a slice of pie. The stories made him lose his appetite. A poke or two at the pie with his fork and he opted to eat it, if only to be polite to Lulu.


Beyond that though he listened and watched and tried to be supportive. He voted, hesitantly, after looking around to see if he was legible to do so. Ill-at-ease transitioned to visible discomfort. He glanced at the door with the plain intent of perhaps sneaking out. The club centered the right people. He was a fifth wheel so to speak.


Although unexpressed, Nick thought Mia would be an excellent officer. One, she didn't like hierarchy and thus would understand the responsibility. Two, she didn't really sound like she wanted a officer role. In Nick's mind, someone that didn't want "political" power was the perfect person for the job. As he inched his way towards the door, he gave her a thumbs up and nodded his support. Maybe she interpreted it as more support for Abby or herself. Either way was a win.

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