The Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) is a nationwide network that empowers and trains LGBTQ+ (lesbian gay bisexual transgender queer etc.) and allied youth leaders to organize and mobilize a movement for safer schools and healthier communities. La Plata high school’s GSA is a place of acceptance and love for anyone who is different. You don’t have to be gay or straight to join, just be you, just be different.
The GSA is really small this year, and they are starting with a clean slate using the foundation Austin Altizer left for the group before he graduated. La Plata’s GSA club is planning on having a fun and productive year with different events and fundraisers for all to participate in.
The GSA here at La Plata high school is sponsored by Mrs. Reamy and Ms. Thoma and is held on Tuesdays during b-shift of lunch in Ms. Thomas’ trailer, T5, which is in the last set of trailers past the pool and first trailer on the right when you go up the ramp.
The GSA at La Plata High School is a student-run club which provides a safe place for students to meet, support each other, talk about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and work to end homophobia and transphobia. The mission of the LPHS GSA this year is to abolish ignorance and unite all students regardless of their differences.
There are three main functions of a typical GSA club: support, social, and activist.
GSAs Provide Support
Many function as a support group and provide safety and confidentiality to students who are struggling with their identity or those experiencing harassment at school because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. The group often provides one of few safe spaces for students to express themselves.
GSAs Build Community
GSA’s are social groups and provide a sense of community and a space for LGBTQ and straight ally youth to build a social network where identity is respected. Lots of GSA’s organize barbeques or movie nights, organize field trips to a local LGBT prom or pride parade, and attend conferences together. GSA’s are a great way to build community at the school and lessen the isolation that LGBTQ students might otherwise experience.
GSAs Take Action to Create Change
In addition to support, some GSA’s work on educating themselves and the broader school community about sexual orientation and gender identity issues. They may bring in outside speakers to cover a particular topic such as LGBTQ history. They may organize a “Pride Week” or “LGBTQ Awareness Events” and offer a series of educational workshops, panels, and pride celebrations. Some GSAs organize a “Teach the Teachers” staff development day, which focuses on teaching school staff how to be better allies for LGBTQ students. There are many other types of educational and activist events that GSAs can do.