Do you know about the Gender Sexuality Alliance? The Gender Sexuality Alliance is a club at Loy Norrix that has been going on for over 20 years. The club first started in 1999 when a teacher named Katherine Williamson decided to take a stand when a group of her students asked her to advise the club. She was the very first advisor of the GSA.
Currently the leaders of the club, Maya Crawford and Kai Nere-Jones, are working on making a safe environment for the LGBTQ+ youth and creating a place where these students can find “social justice”.
The GSA recently changed their name from the Gay Straight Alliance to the Gender Sexuality Alliance because members of the club felt that the previous name put boundaries on who was accepted into the group, and they wanted everyone to know that they are welcome and that their staff will appreciate anyone willing to learn more about them.
The GSA’s main goal with this program is to create an environment where no matter your gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs, you have a place where you can learn more about your own and others' preferences and identities.
“This is a place where you can really figure yourself out,” said Crawford.
Kids who are unsure about their sexuality or just want to learn more can come and learn about gender identity and sexual orientation and how they are affected by it.
A homosexual teenager is four times more likely to commit suicide than a straight teenager due to the bullying and taunting that comes with “coming out” according to www.childmind.org.
The GSA is trying to show our LGBTQ+ youth that it's okay to be different and it’s okay to not know what you like. The GSA is also working on finding ways to raise awareness about the LGBTQ+ rights. They have been doing this by putting up posters around the school and hosting events not only for the LGBTQ+ but for their allies as well.
The GSA first began to meet at a teacher's house until a story about another school not allowing the GSA to meet on school grounds. Katherine went to the head of Loy Norrix and requested that the club start meeting on campus. Katherine stated that if the GSA was not allowed to meet on school grounds all clubs would have to be discontinued, including all the sports teams. Loy Norrix, in fear of losing all their groups, allowed the GSA to begin meeting on Loy Norrix campus.
“No one has the right to define someone else,” said Williamson
The group now comes together every Friday after school from 2:30 to 3:30 in the Loy Norrix library and anyone is allowed to attend the meetings.
The GSA also has social media like @Loy_ Norrix_GSA on instagram to inform people about the events that are happening. Crawford and Nere-Jones plan on helping the GSA grow by hosting more activities and events both at school and outside of school and by advertising their club more.
Recently the GSA hosted their own spirit week which really got the community involved once they saw everyone in their LGBTQ+ flags. When the GSA first started they would also do events like this to help attract more attention to the group and to help people understand their cause.
“We have never experienced a problem with people coming in and disrespecting the group and what we stand for,” said Nere-Jones.
The only rule for this club is that what is talked about and shared in the group is not allowed to leave the group. This rule has been put in place to make people more comfortable about asking questions and sharing with the group. The GSA has worked hard to make everyone in the LGBTQ+ community at Loy Norrix feel like they have a place where they belong and are accepted. No matter your age, sexuality, gender identity, or if you are just a supporter of the LGBTQ+ you are welcome to come and enjoy yourself.