GSA clubs in schools bring LGBT community comfort

Riley Henderson, Assistant Editor

   Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) clubs, also known as the Gay-Straight Alliances, are appearing throughout numerous schools in the United States to create a safe space for all young people, no matter what sexuality or gender.

Along with establishing a safe environment, these clubs aim to bring awareness to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues in society.

   Tracy Dryer, a high school teacher at Northwest High School who has a minor in Psychology, is an advisor of Northwest’s GSA club.

   “The school has gotten better with LGBT youth in our school, it’s of course not as good as it should be, but it definitely is better,” said Dryer. 

   A Report from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network found that after a considerable increase in the percentage of students who had a GSA club in their school from 2001 to 2009, there was also a significant increase in the number of students participating in GSA clubs. 

   Northwest High School is fortunate enough to have a GSA club, which meets every Tuesday or Thursday, depending on the events taking place that day.

   Desiray Cutter, a student leader in the GSA club, has only been in it for a few months but already loves it. She was able to be promoted from a regular member to a student leader.

   “I was so excited to find out we had one, but sadly I couldn’t join my freshman year due to not having a ride home. Sophomore year I couldn’t because of COVID-19, and here we are, junior year, student leader,” said Cutter.

In 45 states, less than half of all high schools have a GSA. The researchers represent the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC)  identified several studies that document the reduction in homophobia of LGBT students in schools with the GSA club. LGBT youth who participate in GSA clubs report that the clubs are a community.

   “A lot of club members look like they actually feel comfortable in their own skin and are learning to stick up for themselves,” said Cutter. 

   Savannah Zenz, another student leader in the GSA club, has been a part of the club for over two years and has thoroughly enjoyed it. 

   “I believe the club has caused the school to become a lot better with how much homophobia is outwardly shown. I have seen many more students stand up for each other,” said Zenz.

   LGBT students have seen a significant decrease in homophobic slurs in their schools and have noticed how Northwest has improved. They hope this kind of environment will be portrayed for every kid around the United States.