By Abigail Allen
There are nearly nine million members of the LGBTQ community today, according to pbs.org. Many members of the LGBTQ community face discrimination. This is why cities across the U.S. are fighting for equality, thus the founding of the Gay-Straight Alliance in 2012. The GSA was founded to provide members of the LGBTQ community and their supporters with a safe place to be themselves and make new friends.
President and transgender member of the GSA junior Daniel Parks values the GSA’s openness and acceptance of all members of the LGBTQ community and more.
“GSA provides a support system for LGBTQ teens, a welcoming environment for anyone who comes to a meeting, and information on different topics in culture, LGBTQ, and topics that can apply to anyone, such as mental health, stereotypes, and how to identify toxic relationships,” Parks said.
Counselor and staff sponsor of GSA Shannon Fritz explained how GSA provides a place for LGBTQ students to feel included in an activity that everyone can enjoy.
“Every student needs to feel safe and feel that they have a niche while at school. GSA fulfills that for some students. If high school is a small sample of the adult world, then GSA could function to educate other members of society on the strengths, values, and needs of the LGBTQ population,” Fritz said.
Treasurer of the GSA, junior Allie Wallace, a pansexual member, discusses how GSA allows students to learn how they have had years of support.
“The meetings vary between small parties to serious talks. For example, we have a holiday party during Christmas time and then we would have a history meeting in November so we can look at some of the historical LGBTQ members that have fought so hard to give us the ‘equality’ we have today,” Wallace said.
Wallace explained how the new friendships she’s made in GSA affect her, and how she lives her life.
“I have made a few friends, in my opinion, while being a part of GSA. It’s made it nice to walk around that halls knowing that someone is always gonna be able to talk to you and you can see that person all the time. It, for me, makes life more bearable,” Wallace said.
Wallace discusses how the GSA is a welcoming place for anyone who would like a safe place for some guidance and laughs. The GSA advocates for equality and self-esteem.
“GSA is an open club … Any and everyone are able to come and all are welcome. With joining the club, there are so many reasons for someone to join that it’s hard to keep track of, but someone the ones that I have heard is ‘I wanted a safe place to be myself’ and ‘I heard it was fun so I decided to take a look,’” Wallace said.
Those interested in joining the GSA can follow the club’s social media and join the classroom account for further information and updates on the latest meeting topics and activities.