Zanna Peterson, Kai Anderson, and Jayden Pauschek are excited to begin a new year for GSA, which is holding weekly meetings in the Wellness Center. Photo by Eden Rodriquez
The Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA), is an international organization of student-led clubs at middle schools, high schools, and colleges that provide safe spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, or LGBTQ+ students and promote the LGBTQ+ social movement. The GSA club here at AHS meets in the Wellness Center every Thursday at lunch. Jayden Pauschek, a GSA member, said, “GSA is a place where you can be yourself.”
The club’s profile on the AHS website says that, “The AHS Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) functions as a safe place for students to meet, support each other, and talk about issues related to sexual orientation. GSA provides support and confidentiality to students who are struggling with their identity as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning. Above all, we encourage acceptance, tolerance, and a sense of community where all are welcome.”
What are the benefits of having a GSA club on campus? Autumn Youngs said, “I feel like it seems cool and it can help put LGBTQ+ people at ease, knowing there are more students like them at school. It also helps demonstrate diversity and safety against discrimination on campus.”
Zanna Peterson, a member of GSA, says that "GSA is a place where you can be happy and be true to yourself."
It is especially pertinent that GSA takes place at the Wellness Center, which offers on-site mental health services. The CDC reports that LGBTQ+ youth have roughly three times the number of serious suicidal thoughts compared to heterosexual youth, and are nearly five times more likely to have attempted suicide.
GSA creates a safe space for LGBTQ+ students. Even though some of those students may not attend, others do seem happy about the presence of GSA on our campus as it creates, for them, a more accepting, diverse environment at AHS.