A Club Called The GSA

A+group+of+protesters+holds+signs+reading+%22GSA%27s+Save+Lives%22+and+%22Your+Are+Loved%22+beneath+a+trans+flag.

Photo by Denin Lawley on Unsplash

A group of protesters holds signs reading “GSA’s Save Lives” and “Your Are Loved” beneath a trans flag.

Maleah Fennessey, Co-Editor

This year is the second year in which the GSA club (gay-straight alliance) has been running at McAuliffe. Although these aren’t entirely new organizations, there’s a lot to learn about the inner workings of this club and the importance implementing these groups holds in the community. 

You may have heard messages on the morning announcements about our club or the events/activities we’ve planned in the pst. These included The Day of Silence, on which we designed masks with x’s on them to raise awareness of bullying targeting LGBT youth, poster making sessions we’ve hosted, or the button and bracelet fundraiser held this friday. All organized events are created to spread acceptance of the LGBT community, as well as of the GSA itself. And it is definitely alright to not have all the information or experience confusion.

A GSA is a club or organization within a place, most often a school, dedicated to the welfare and awareness of LGBT people. They include members of all different backgrounds, not just gay people or straight allies, but anyone who falls in between or is gender diverse. These groups can do a variety of activities and often share the same basic motivation of acceptance and a safe space, but it’s common for a GSA to choose one core value or purpose, such as an activism focused organization. They’re not only clubs in the way that hobby-related clubs are; they’re also groups of people that handle many serious topics and occasions, though fun is often thrown into the mix. 

This carries over to the things we have planned at McAuliffe. For example, during the button and bracelet fundraiser, students were encouraged to visit the art room between cohorts and donate two dollars to make a craft of their choice. Funds raised will go to adding LGBT inclusive books to the media center. We made more posters to introduce others to the club and provide basic information. As for basic club info, meetings ran from three to 3:30 on Wednesdays, and usually started with introductions from new members and an icebreaker activity. But why are regular meetings and events so important?

The goal of the McAuliffe GSA, as well as GSA’s in general, is to do a few key things. Firstly comes education; we want people to learn about their and other’s identities, and what goes on in the world pertaining to the community they’re part of. This increases, overall, the awareness of LGBTQ+ struggles and topics and . Next is fun; this comes in the form of incorporating art and encouraging people to interact with others. Last, but definitely not least, comes activism, or overall making a difference in the world. Though this may be relatively small at McAuliffe, not much more than getting some new library books, every action makes a difference, which is especially important to think about when considering what moves to make in the future. 

When asked about why schools could benefit from having GSAs, Maxx Fish, the eighth grade vice president of the club, lends, “I feel like we need it because of the inclusivity, and the safe space, and just the overall…fun that they can have meeting other people like them…and just be them!” Swihart, McAuliffe’s art teacher, as well as the supervising and hosting teacher of the club, adds “I think other reasons (are) representation, for even the students that don’t join the club. I feel like it’s very important for them, because it starts conversations about ‘oh! That’s valid on a school campus.’” 

All in all, the McAuliffe GSA aims to be a safe and supportive place for any student that needs it. If you want to learn more, become a better ally or have somewhere to be yourself, feel free to join in; the new leaders of the club will look forward to seeing you there next year!