Why I’m Thankful for My School’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA)

By , 17, Staff Writer
November 16, 2015

I wanted to share something I’m grateful for: my school’s gay-straight alliance (GSA). Many schools across the country have GSAs or other kinds of organizations that are meant to unite the LGBTQ and heterosexual/ cisgender communities in the fight for queer rights. They’re not always called a GSA (in addition to “Gay-Straight Alliance,” they can be named Gender-Sexuality Alliance, Gay-Straight-Transgender Alliance, Queer-Straight Alliance, Rainbow Club, etc., according to GLSEN). Whatever the name, these groups share the common trait of bringing LGBTQ youth and allies together in a safe space at school. My school has one, and I am very appreciative of it for these reasons:

1. It’s a space for me, other queer people and our allies to talk about queer stuff without judgment. The GSA is meant for talking about LGBTQ topics, as well as providing a safe space for LGBTQ students. People outside of queer-friendly spaces aren’t always accepting. I’ve gotten many negative comments and dirty looks from peers outside of my GSA when I mention anything queer. Knowing that there is a space where I can talk about LGBTQ matters without being judged makes me (and others) more comfortable at school.

2. It allows me to see who my allies are and meet other queer people. People don’t walk around with either “phobe” or “ally” tattooed on their foreheads, so having a room full of people who you know won’t judge you based on your sexual orientation or gender identity is really useful. And before joining my school’s GSA over two years ago I knew only one other queer person at my school; now I would need multiple sets of hands to count the fellow LGBTQ students I know at my school.

3. My GSA makes a difference, both in school and out. My GSA has done a lot of things in school to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues, like participate in Ally Week and GLSEN’s Day of Silence. Along with that, we partake in AIDS walks and host fundraisers for organizations that help the LGBTQ community, like the Trevor Project and Human Rights Campaign. Yes, same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states, but there’s still a lot of stuff that can be done to help LGBTQ people. It’s up to us, as an organization of young people, to raise our voices and use our resources to fight for true equality.

GSA meetings are the highlight of my week and I’m extremely grateful that more and more schools are starting GSAs or student organizations like it!

Visit GLSEN.org and GSAnetwork.org for more information on starting your own GSA.

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