GSA Supports Pride


Zainab Ansari

GSA members attend their weekly Tuesday meetings while sporting their school spirit wear for Character Day.

Many students find room T-6 the best escape from stress that typically stems from school. With soda filled cups and bags of cookies in hand, they gather around desks in a circle as they talk about challenges they’ve faced and help each other. No discourse is permitted, only constructive feedback and bad puns as they engage in discussion as a true support system.

The Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) devotes itself to creating a positive environment and shedding light on important people and events for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

“The kids who are in GSA are real people and they’re trying to figure themselves out just like any other teenager,” GSA sponsor Betsey Riedl said. “I think the kids in GSA are more supportive and more empathetic to other kids in their club than other clubs.”

GSA provides students a fun and supporting environment to meet while becoming involved with the community. In addition to holding festive socials, one of the activities during meetings promotes optimism with each member stating the best experience that happened to them during the week and celebrating each other’s large and small victories.

“It [our discussions} can be something big like ‘Oh, I got a car,’ to something small like petting a dog,” senior GSA president Payne Stiegman said. “We also have fun party days a couple of times a year in addition to our regular meetings.”

Officers also conduct informational meetings about important or historical LGBT topics and encourage productive discussions.

GSA will be there to support them and help them out.

— Ti Donedieu

“On national days of visibility or awareness for specific LGBT themes, like Trans Day of Remembrance for example, we’ll have an educational PowerPoint about that topic,” Stiegman said. “Usually the meetings are geared towards fun, but if it’s a serious topic then we have a serious discussion about it because it’s important.”

GSA also holds parties and recognizes famous figures and national awareness prominent to the LGBT community, such as National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11.  This day emphasizes the coming out of the closeted LGBT community, or the self-disclosure of their identity or sexuality to family and friends. For this awareness day, members crafted colorful posters and posted them around the campus in early October.

“It’s to let students know they’re not alone and GSA will be there to support them and help them out,” sophomore and historian Ti Donedieu said. “A lot of my friends who haven’t come out yet felt comfortable enough to come out to me. They knew they weren’t alone and that there were other people supporting them being in or out of the closet. It’s important to make sure people are not only accepted, but safe.”

Raising awareness to the school’s LBGT population and creating a support system, GSA develops a safe environment that uplifts students of various sexualities and backgrounds and is open for all to join.

“I would like to see more kids from the school to come and check it out,” Riedl said. “Just come to a meeting and then see what we do. We hang out, we talk, and we support each other.”