Protecting and Promoting the LGBTQIA+ Community

GSA Club Making a Difference in School

Gracie Grabowski, Staff Writer

The GSA Club at Long Reach High School strives to make the school a more accepting and safe space.

The GSA, Gender Sexuality Alliance, is a club at Long Reach High School that is welcoming towards anyone, with a special emphasis for those who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Sophomore Anthony Morin comments that GSA is “a very positive place where people can feel safe.”

The members of the club work towards an overall goal of “spreading awareness and helping people understand what [the LGBTQIA+ community] is, and help[ing] people hiding in the closet step out,” Anthony Morin, a sophomore said. 

One of the club’s many goals includes informing the school community about pronoun use and misuse. To accomplish this, GSA has done many things, from participating in the Long Reach High School’s homecoming parade, to handing out LGBTQIA+ flag stickers and pronoun stickers in the school’s atrium during lunch periods.

Photo courtesy of Toby Boyce

“More people are talking about [pronouns] and not avoiding it than in past schools I have been to,” Toby Boyce, a Long Reach sophomore, acknowledged. “Students are more open [than before] to topics about LGBTQIA+.” 

Not only are the students of the community making an effort to create a safe and welcoming place, but so are the faculty. Teachers are engaging in ongoing professional development regarding topics related to the LGBTQIA+ community, the most recent meeting having been facilitated by GSA sponsor Mx. Borleis.

The effects of the GSA club also can be seen in the work teachers do in their own classrooms. “More teachers are making an effort to use correct pronouns,” said Boyce. “At the beginning of the year, teachers gave out forms where you can put your preferred name and pronouns.” Furthermore, student services is encouraging of anyone interested in setting their preferred pronouns in Canvas. Students are welcome to check in with student services for technological help to do so.

Like all school clubs, GSA could not run in Long Reach without teacher sponsors. The sponsors of GSA are Ms. Skinner and Mx. Borleis. Ms. Skinner said the club wants to impact the community by creating “a safe space where more students feel comfortable to come to meetings. The main thing is that they know that they have teachers and fellow students to reach out to.” 

Ms. Skinner said of her personal experience as a co-sponsor towards the club, “It brings me happiness because I know I can be supportive to such wonderful humans.”

Photo courtesy of Toby Boyce

GSA’s impact on the school community has made significant gains this year, and their efforts have been successful. Zana Hunt, a senior, mentioned that the inclusion of GSA has allowed them to feel “more at home than I have in previous years.” 

The club meets every other Wednesday after school in room 206, Mx. Borleis’ room. “Everyone is welcome,” Sophomore Jessica Schmitt encourages. 

Boyce added on, “If you are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, you should stop by, because we are a great space to be in, and we can make the school better!”