Why We Should Have A GSA

Georgia Moran, Editor

There are quite a few lgbt students in our school community, more than you would expect. Sierra is not exactly the safest environment for these individuals, and having a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) can help.

There is much proof that having a GSA in middle and high schools is a positive thing. The Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to helping lgbt youth, has shared distressing statistics with the internet. One of these statistics says that queer adolescents “are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide” than heterosexual (straight) adolescents. Another upsetting statistic is this: one out of six queer students nationwide, specifically grades nine to twelve, seriously considered suicide in the past year. 

A GSA in middle school will not only help queer students, but will also be helpful to straight students. Believe it or not, straight students also have the possibility of being victimized for homophobia. It may sound strange, but this can occur for multiple reasons. Maybe they have stood up for a queer friend, they’ve been called “gay” or “fag” or some other derogatory term by a friend, or it could just be because the bully thinks that they are in fact queer. According to a study done by a school in British Columbia, “When policies and supportive programs like GSAs are in place long enough to change the environment of the school, it’s better for students’ mental health, no matter what their orientation.”

If you want to start a GSA here or at whatever school you go to, you most certainly can. On the GSAFE website, they remind you that, according to the Equal Access Act, “If you attend a public school, your school cannot deny the formation of a GSA.” They are also not legally allowed to deny the formation of a religious group, like a Bible Club. If you do decide to start a GSA, however, remember an important thing, which is that GSAs are led by students, the same way a bible club would be. Yes, a teacher must provide a place to meet and help schedule events on school calendars, but everything else, like the activities and conversations, are led by students.

There is no denying that a GSA would be a positive activity to have in our school community. It will help students of all sexualities and gender identities help to accept and love themselves. And even if your school administration is against it, you may as well remind them of the law that they are potentially breaking, and you’re set!