The Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA): It’s probably not what you think…


Rebecca Hudon

From the GSA/Ally display outside the Junior cafeteria.

It happened in a class of mine, one moment were talking about civil rights, then onto bullying, then… bam! The question was asked: “What does the GSA do?”

I’d spoken out about the history of gay rights countless times in that class but for once I was stumped. People were turning to me, expecting some form of an answer but all I could do was shrug. I’d only been to one meeting years ago at the request of a dear friend, hardly enough time to understand what was happening with the group. All I could think of was when they hosted “Stand Up Stand Out” days, days where students wore a certain color to ‘stand up’ against the derogatory use of words like ‘gay’ and ‘retard.’

Still feeling the heat of my classmates’ curious stares I ended the conversation with a brief mumble: “Dunno, anti-bullying stuff.”

And I lived with that vague answer for the rest of the year. The lack of information and understanding about the club kept me from going a second time, and that’s how many other students feel as well.

In an interview with Cari McAvoy, the GSA adviser, I learned that the GSA is nothing more than just that, it’s how they do it that make them unique. For starters, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE  GAY! (That’s where the whole “allies” thing comes in.) Meetings are member centered and activities run as the members request. For example, if enough members want to take a trip to Washington D.C to join in a gay rights protest the club will do what it can to make that happen. The meetings themselves consist of a lot of talking. They talk about their good times and troubles of being LGBTQ but they also get the chance to talk about a lot of the other student’s interests. They even get to have speakers talk with them many times in a month.

Unfortunately, at the moment, their funding is a little short. With the lack of attention to the club and the lack of members to raise funds the club is falling behind their goals.  Hopefully the recent decoration of the wall outside the cafeteria [photo] will attract some notice from students as well.

My interview ended with a request to all students from McAvoy, “I would say come and check it out, if you like it, great… if you don’t, come to another [meeting] just to double check.” The club meets every Thursday after school in room 144 if anyone is interested.