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Tuscarora GSA Starts Out Strong

A Tuscarora student attends a GSA meeting. Photo by Anna Shaw.
A Tuscarora student attends a GSA meeting. Photo by Anna Shaw.
A Tuscarora student attends a GSA meeting. Photo by Anna Shaw.

By Anna Shaw

On September 12th, 2013, the Tuscarora Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) had its first meeting.  The GSA’s goal is to be a safe place for people who identify outside of the general gender attraction guidelines, aka people who are not straight (gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc.) and for straight students who support the LGBT community.

President Evan Robohm, junior, said, “We live in a very conservative area, so a few of us thought it would be a good idea to give students who might not feel accepted at home a place where they can feel at ease.”

Sophomore Erin Azie, a member of the club, said, “It’s about time. The people in this county don’t realize what’s going on around them. They aren’t opening up their minds to what’s happening now…it’s time to move forward, especially in one of the richest counties in the country.”

The GSA used word of mouth and posters to advertise their interest meeting.  17 people showed up to the meeting, and 15 people signed up for the club.  The next week, the GSA had 4 more people sign up.  The GSA meets every week in room 500, Mr. Vandenburg’s classroom.

The club plans on having multiple fundraisers to raise money for the Trevor Project.

The Trevor Project is an anti-gay-bullying program run by Tyler Oakley, a gay blogger on YouTube who makes videos supporting people who have recently come out or people who came out awhile ago and have been experiencing harassment because of it.  The project also has a crisis hotline for anyone who feels overwhelmed with anything happening to them at school or at home, or with anything else, be it LGBT-related or not.  The GSA intends to invite Oakley to speak at Tuscarora.

The club also plans on working with an organization called GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network).  This network has a lot of information about starting a GSA, plus tips for how to help people who have been bullied, how to deal with a resentful or even hateful neighborhood, and more.  GLSEN holds events such as the Day of Silence, Ally Week, and Think B4 You Speak.  Day of Silence is a day when anyone who identifies as LGBT or supporters of LGBT rights spend a day in silence to symbolize the fact that their rights are silenced.  Ally Week is a week that celebrates the allies that help lift up the spirits of LGBT students and help counter bullying.  Lastly, Think B4 You Speak is a program that attempts to combat sayings like “that’s so gay” in communities across America.

So far, GSA is yet to have any activities involving the school. However, the club says many are scheduled for the future. Overall, the club hopes to make an impact, or at least help a couple of people in our school. Robohm said, “To help one person is to help many.”

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