Gay-Straight Alliance unites students

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Gay-Straight Alliance unites students

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Gay-Straight Alliance, also known as Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA), is one of the most important clubs in high schools. 

The value of this club is difficult for some to put into words. Junior Dexter Robertson moved from rural Virginia half a year before ninth grade where anything varying from heteronormativity was wildly disapproved of.

“(GSA provided) a lot more support than I was prepared for,” Robertson said. “More than I expected, considering where I came from.”

The overwhelming support from the LGBTQ+ people and allies is powerful and influential in queer students’ lives. The open and accepting environment is one that all students deserve. This is especially meaningful for queer students considering a study from the Human Rights Campaign in 2018 found “only 26 percent (of LGBT students) always feel safe in their school classrooms — and just five percent say all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ people.”

“Whenever I attend a GSA meeting, I get this feeling of community and support,” junior Pierce Dolan said. “Every year I meet a bunch of new people and learn more about others’ experiences and identities. I can connect with the people there on a different level because the atmosphere is so inviting.”

The connection made is deep and meaningful partially because queer students share something in common. 

I (keep) coming back because it (is) so freeing to be able to be myself without feeling like someone (is) looking over my shoulder,”

— Pierce Dolan

“My favorite part about GSA is that I can have conversations with other LGBT people about things that cishet (cisgender and heterosexual) people just, don’t get,” Dolan said. “If I want to talk about gender with a cis person (someone who identifies with their gender assigned at birth), there (are) so many steps that I have to go through because it’s not really something they’ve ever had to dive into, the history and philosophy and all that, but talking to another trans person, is (much) easier. There (are) less steps.”

Although one of the values of the GSA is the opportunity for queer people to talk with each other, the attendance of straight allies is important in a significant way.

“I’d like to see more straight allies, or (people who are) open to come. Instead of it being like (if) ‘you aren’t LGBT you can’t go’, that’s not (the message) that’s being put out,” Robertson said.

The GSA’s goal is unity. This club isn’t advocating for the separation of queer and cishet students. In the end, they want to encourage open-mindedness, education, and enjoyable times.

“I (keep) coming back because it (is) so freeing to be able to be myself without feeling like someone (is) looking over my shoulder,” Dolan said.