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The Gay-Straight Alliance provides a safe place for students

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Do you want to become a part of a club where you can be yourself and talk about current events or helpful topics in relation to the LGTBQ+ community? The Gay-Straight Alliance might be the club for you.

The GSA club functions as a support group and provide safety and confidentiality to students who identify themselves as gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning. GSA is also a social group, and they provide a community and a space for LGBTQ and straight high school students to build a social network where their identity is respected.

“I chose to be in GSA because of the loving and supportive environment,” junior Sloane Bradford said. “We do a lot of things in GSA. We discuss LGBTQ+ things, make friends, and have a safe place for everyone and anyone.”

GSA was founded in the 1998-1999 school year by Carolyn Laub in San Francisco, California. Anti-gay harassment has prompted the growth of gay-straight alliances, and GSA became nationwide in 2005. There are over 4,000 clubs around the nation today, and the Broken Arrow Gay-Straight Alliance started two years ago.

“I chose to sponsor the club because I wanted to give the GSA a safe and loving place to meet,” GSA sponsor and sophomore English teacher Victoria Chaplin said. “We are aiming to provide support for LGTBQ+ youth at the school, and we strive to cover LGBTQ+ topics to provide education to those who need it.”

Glsen.org has researched the benefits of having GSA clubs around the schools in America. The study shows, inter alia, that the presence of GSA’s often helps to make schools safer for LGBTQ students by sending a message that biased language and harassment will not be tolerated. That also means that students in schools with GSA’s are less likely to hear homophobic remarks on a daily basis than students in schools without a GSA (57% compared to 75%).

The study also shows that LGBTQ students in schools with GSA’s are less likely to miss school because they feel unsafe compared to other students: 26% of students in schools with GSA’s missed school in the past month because they felt unsafe compared to 32% of students at schools without GSA’s, according to the study.

“My personal goal for the GSA is to create a big and healthy environment for those who need it,” junior Cassie Ballard said. “I chose to join the GSA to pursue my passion of helping those in my community. The GSA has given me happiness and more friends than I can count. It truly is a fun environment.”

The GSA club is welcoming everyone who wants to become a part of a safe place with space for everyone. They meet every Wednesday after school in B264.

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The Gay-Straight Alliance provides a safe place for students