G.S.A. Club for LGBTQ and Allies

Josie Krupens, Staff Writer

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   A GSA club, which now stands for Gender and Sexualities Alliance, has been founded this year at University City High School by Club President Elaina Martin, to create a safe space for LGBTQ teens and allies.

   According to Martin, the national GSA organization recently changed its name from Gay Straight Alliance to Gender and Sexualities Alliance to include individuals who identify as something other than gay or straight.

   “GSA club is intended to be a support group for allies and LGBTQ teens, so we can come together under a few advisors and talk about issues in the community and the school,” Martin explained. “Initially, there was no real club with a purpose to help other kids find out their identity, feel safe, or invite straight allies to come and learn more,” she continued.

   According to Martin, the club meets on Thursdays at lunch in room 214, Theater Teacher Matt Moody’s room. Moody is one of three advisors, along with English Teacher Elizabeth Frohoff, and Counselor Kelsey Bradshaw. The student officials are Vice President Eduardo Gonzalez, Secretary Elen Poretsky, and Treasurer Rissa Young.

   “GSA is an open place where you can discuss important topics having to do with LGBTQ people,” said Club Member Naama Mazor. She said the club talks about political issues concerning LGBTQ individuals, such as new laws and political figures.

   Martin said she is planning to register the club with Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), an LGBTQ organization. She is planning to have the club participate in the organization’s San Diego events.

   According to the official GLSEN website, they are an organization dedicated to making schools safe spaces for LGBTQ students. “We empower students to affect change by supporting student-led efforts to positively impact their own schools and local communities” (glsen.org).

   The same website described how GSAs have a positive influence on LGBTQ youth: “LGBTQ students in schools with GSAs are less likely to miss school because they feel unsafe compared to other students: a quarter (26 percent) of students in schools with GSAs missed school in the past month because they felt unsafe compared to a third (32 percent) of students at schools without GSAs” (glsen.org).

   “The club is a very open space where everyone can be themselves. It’s a nice and accepting environment to be in,” she said. “It provides a safe space for anyone in the community, and I think it’s really important that we have that space,” she continued.

   “I want everyone to foster a sense of family and community,” Martin said. She added, “I want everyone to know that they’re not alone and that we have this group for everyone. You should never feel like you have to be alone.”

   “LGBTQ acceptance is still a controversial topic in today’s society. There’s a lot of intolerance, and the club will help address those issues and how to stop them,” Mazor said.

   According to Martin, there is another LGBTQ club at UC High, called LGBT Club, and there has been talk of merging.

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