GSA questions

railroadhighwaydreams's picture

Right, so hi everyone. Just as a bit of a caution, this will probably be quite long, since I'm not sure how to phrase this...

I've been planning on starting a GSA ever since I came out to my aunt in Vermont (she's not truly my aunt, but she's known my mum since before I was born, and since she lives with her partner in Vermont, and she's always there for me, she's always been considered an aunt).
Well, that's not really true. I've always dreamed of starting a GSA at my school, since I always knew in the back of my head that I was attracted to girls, and always would be.

But my question is.. (and I really hope y'all forgive me for sounding naiive) but why would you start a GSA? And, if you were to be the creator of it, what would you do at the meetings?

I'm asking since at my school we've got the hallways full of "that's so gay", but other than that, we're not all that homophobic as a whole. I know there's one guy who's definitely queer (and he's out and proud and lovely with friends.. the class clown but basically the whole school is on his side), and I'm pretty sure there's another guy as well.
There's me who bi and one of my best gal friends who's bi as well.
But other than that, I know of no one else.
So is that "that's so gay" enough to really .. have a point... to a GSA?

I know that GSA's can be more social, getting more comfortable being proud of who you are, or just as a safe haven for GLBT kids..
or it can be more action-y and have fundraisers and such around the town and outside the school.

I guess I'm just not sure what our mission statement would be, or what we would do at the meetings.
And now as I'm saying this, I'm getting ideas.

But does anyone have ideas? Any advice or just plain help? (which I so dearly need on this matter)

~Tucker

railroadhighwaydreams's picture

(and just a note: i realize

(and just a note: i realize after i wrote this, that there very well may be others at school than the ones I mentioned.. I'm not sure why I stated that, seeing as its wrong...)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"all girls are bi at heart"
-katja
"all PEOPLE are bi at heart"
-sonya

1stTeeka's picture

well

well since there isn't a lot of homophobia at your school it could just be a place for people to go and hang and not worry. also its easier to fight any homophobia that would could pop up later if the gsa u start has been around before it became a big problem. your charter could focus more on the club being a safe place for people to be themselves kinda. you don't have have things like protests or anything, you could just host parties or something like that :P

hope that helps

**Far from a saint, not quite a sinner**
the greatest irony: There is no Peace without War

jeff's picture

Yeah...

That would potentially be attended by very few people... if only the S in GSA stood for Straight.

---
"Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment." - Rumi

Add me on Facebook and MySpace.

Splash's picture

If it doesn't stand for

If it doesn't stand for straight, what DOES it stand for?

Although I've noticed there's a slight assumption at my college that anyone who shows up at the GSA meeting is gay. I know it's not true (a straight friend of mine has showed up a couple of times), but I can see where it would be really easy to start thinking that way.

~~~ the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses ~ e e cummings ~~~

Lol-taire's picture

Ssss...fag hag? sfag hag.

Ssss...fag hag?
sfag hag.

railroadhighwaydreams's picture

See, and there's my issue...

See, and there's my issue... I see your point exactly 1stTeeka, and that's what I've definitely been leaning towards...
it's just that Jeff raised the issue that's been haunting me. I doubt so highly that we're going to get anyone who is not out to at least some people. I might though, be able to get a few of my close friends (all straight, and one bi) to come, and that might be able to start a trend (that's happened before at my school, in multiple clubs, how one person has started a trend of sorts to bring more people to a meeting)

I'll see what my partner-in-the-GSA-creation thinks about this. Besides, she's got a boyfriend herself, so if she is co-pres, it will be a good starting point.

Thanks you guys for your help so far
:)
Tucker

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"all girls are bi at heart"
-katja
"all PEOPLE are bi at heart"
-sonya

gaynow's picture

You don't need homophobia to

You don't need homophobia to start a GSA. I mean, "that's so gay" in the hallways is definitely something for your GSA to discuss and work on, but there doesn't need to be a specific issue that the GSA has to combat. Mostly, it's about giving people a safe space, where everyone--all labels of the rainbow, plus straight allies--are welcome, and can speak their mind and feel safe. It's a place for people who are questioning themselves or confused or feeling harassed to find support. And also, GSA's are damn fun. My school is hardly homophobic at all (Gods bless New York City), and our GSA is thriving and huge, and we have all sorts of events and a cultural show and Coming Out Day, and every week we host discussions and tell stories, and we're all just really good friends and have a really good time. I think you underestimate how great a resource your GSA might be for the school. And of course, they're fun. So do it do it do it and don't look back. You'll have a lot of people thanking you.

Megan: "Cheers are supposed to be simple, make people feel good."
Graham: "Cheers make girls do stupid cartwheels. Orgasms make people feel good."
-But I'm a Cheerleader

the mouse that roared's picture

Go for it!

We had a GSA at my high school, with a similar level of homophobia and a similar level of out kids. It wasn't necessarily thriving--not a lot of kids were out or comfortable there yet. It certainly took me a year or so to feel comfortable going to meetings--the first time I went, I skittered in there. But the teacher there was amazing, and the kids were really friendly, and we just watched gay movies and learned about gay history, planned coming out day and the day of silence, and mostly just had a place to feel safe and not so alone. I loved that it was there, even before I started going to meetings, just because I knew that somewhere there was a safe place for me.

As a place gets less homophobic, it can be a great cultural resource, kind of like a black student's union or feminist student group. That's always exciting too. Don't be so discouraged if not that many people come. It affects even the people that don't come by allowing some sort of oasis on campus. You could save lives.

No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless; there is too much work to do.--Dorothy Day

railroadhighwaydreams's picture

Thanks you guys. Today

Thanks you guys. Today really pushed me to my decision: i'm going tomorrow with my friend to make an appointment with the principal. In the mean time (it takes at least a week I figure to meet with him in person), we'll work on making a clean, presentable mission statement, and finding laws just in case we're questioned...

I've taken a lot of what you've said (especially you The mouse that roared, and gaynow) and saved it... the movies, Day of Silence, history.. so on. Especially the fact that it's a haven for anyone who needs it (My aunt in Vermont did the same thing with this fellow she knew was gay; he was so very close to committing suicide and she gave him "Rainbow Boys" to read.. and he came back the next week and was a whole lot more at ease knowing that he wasn't alone. Same deal I figure for GSA's)

Thank you guys so much for your help thus far

I'm relieved now I'm starting one.. i wouldn't forgive myself if I went another year deferring something that I feel MUST be done at my school.
(and i'm being so un-eloquent in saying all this >.< crap)

//Tuck
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"all girls are bi at heart"
-katja
"all PEOPLE are bi at heart"
-sonya

railroadhighwaydreams's picture

help!

Right, (so I'm here feeling real sick, worrying myself horribly about this)
so the principal's secretary decided to have us meet him tomorrow... and the two folks I'm working with on this are basically in it because "we're bored". Lovely.
You know? It's just.. they don't care if you're gay or straight and that's great, and they've got some sort of enthusiasm, but it's just a hobby; they don't really care for it.

Thing is then, we haven't yet found a teacher to lead it in such a short period of time.. and we've got basic, basic ByLaws drawn up, and the Equal Access Act ready and emphasized..

but..
I don't know. I just don't know. I'm worried he'll laugh it off, or I'll be the only one out of the three of us who's talking and fighting for it.

And besides, one of my best friends who said a few days ago that should would definitely join, even though she's self-declared anti-social.. today came into lunch and debated very stubbornly with me.. along the lines of:
me: "so what are the goals of the GSA?" (to the whole table)
her: *quietly* "to promote equality for a minority group"
apparently I misheard her tone and half her words, because when I said "exactly", she turned on me:
"well, why, if it's for equality do you just look to one minority group?"
"well, it's since we still haven't got all the rights as every straight man (by that I mean all genders) is accustomed to"
"but what about the other minority groups, huh?"
"well look.. woman didn't have suffrage, now they do, in business, doing what they dream to do.. and straight blacks can marry and kiss their gf/bf in the hall and visit their lover in the hospital, but we can't"

well she got absolutely moody and refused to talk to me after that; saying only a few bits on how those rights are meaningless and they can't be helped from a highschool level (she didn't say that straight out, but hell, from the tone of her voice and what she DID say, you could tell)

so now she is being a pissy little queen.. and I'm sitting here really worried about making a case for a GSA
I just wish we had a later time to meet with the principal.. and the two kids who are helping me with this would actually work harder on it...
at least to care

well..
poo, can't i just curl up and die? I'm dreading this so much....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"all girls are bi at heart"
-katja
"all PEOPLE are bi at heart"
-sonya

jeff's picture

Hmm...

The upside is you don't have to make a good case for a GSA. They pretty much have to let you have one. It's the law.

Here's where you can find more information, and get legal representation if you get any pushback:

http://www.aclu.org/lgbt/youth/index.html

---
"Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment." - Rumi

Add me on Facebook and MySpace.

gaynow's picture

=( Wow, she's being kind of

=(
Wow, she's being kind of pissy. She disagrees with your GSA because you can't help all minorities? Ungh. Tell her that, of course you care about other minority groups, but you can't just start a "minority club," 'cause that's just stupid. If you tried to help all minorities at once you'd kill yourself. This is you, trying to help a specific minority, that you happen to be part of and are therefore personally connected to, in as focused a way as possible. Add that if you tried to help everyone at once, you'd get nowhere; better to help one group than sit around wondering how you can help everyone at once. And also, say that you forming a GSA might inspire people to form clubs for other minority groups. (It's what happened at my school!) Honestly, she's just being ridiculous.

Are there any other queer/queer friendly people at your school who you're friendly with and could maybe help you with your GSA, who might be more committed than the friends who are already helping you? Or... maybe you could just sit down with those friends that're helping you currently, and tell them how much it means to you. Make sure they understand how big a deal it is, and that they can't just do it for shits and giggles, they've gotta be committed, but that it would mean the world to you and your school's GLBTQ community if they did.

Good luck! Starting a GSA is noble and wonderful, and we've all got your back!

Megan: "Cheers are supposed to be simple, make people feel good."
Graham: "Cheers make girls do stupid cartwheels. Orgasms make people feel good."
-But I'm a Cheerleader

1stTeeka's picture

My college

my college is doing a lgbtqa awareness week so u can use some of our events if u need ideas for stuff :P we had a ally reception, allowed the movie kinky boots which was great, had a trip to see avenue q, had speakers come for a lecture thing titled "lesbian issues in the new millennium", and then we have a variety show, hosted by this great drag queen, and we are telling people its a talent show, though it seems like its mostly a drag show :P

**Far from a saint, not quite a sinner**
the greatest irony: There is no Peace without War

jeff's picture

Modesty dear...

let other people call you a great drag queen...

---
"Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment." - Rumi

Add me on Facebook and MySpace.

railroadhighwaydreams's picture

Well I love those ideas

Well I love those ideas teeka.. especially the drag queen bit.

But.. well.. today I was a huge coward, and I completely hate myself for it. I knew I needed to think a huge lot more about what I wanted to say before I went to the principal's, but I thought I'd be well off on the spot, you know? Since I feel passionate about this whole thing.
But I worried myself to death over it this morning... and I just felt absolutely horrid and vulnerable during school. Lunch came, which is when we had to meet him, and I decided to just go and tell the secretary to reschedule.. but we met one of our art teachers in the hall... (I won't even get into the story surrounding the fact that one of the kids who's helping me with this finds it more important to do finish his chem homework than come with me)

well.. the art teacher Mr. B, who I always assumed was amazing.. I mean.. he wears jeans ALWAYS, loves classic rock, is in his own band, leads photography club and takes us to Central Park (and puts up with the most outrageous other art teacher)
well I told him about the GSA.. he said we need a supervisor (well, d'uh).. 'well, you should get a physciatrist"

and i was just ... WHAT???????
*silence on my part*
"like a mental person, or a physciatrist like Mr.... from TNT core group, you know? Since you're dealing with mental issues?" (I told him that the one of the purposes of the GSA was to promote all around acceptance and that there were loads of kids at school who were not absolutely comfortable with themselves)

and I'm still silent. Like, what the hell??? We do not NEED A PHYSCIATRIST!! we are not mentally ill, thank you!
in the 1950s you found a dictionary that had that definition under "homosexual".. now, it's just.. not. And you should know that. Who are you?????

Well anyways.. that didn't help my mood at all. And I half ran to the secretary and told her (she's supposed to be proper and lovely, and she was a few days ago) that we needed to reschedule the meeting.

~~~
so I'm a complete coward... and I hate myself for it. I hate the fact that I haven't reached out and found other kids to help me start it. And I hate the fact that my school is so innately homophobic... you don't see it really in the halls, and especially like Mr. B. I would never have imagined he would believe that.

Well.. so the rest of the day I was cold and inward. Cried on one of my good friend's shoulders. She spoils me so much!
But the rest of the family doesn't care much either that I was indirectly called mentally ill...

~~~
So I'm waiting on all this. I feel like complete crap; like I don't exist... cold and sick and cliché

Those ideas... drag show.. and all sorts.. just.. I know it'll be lovely.
And there's this kid (we'll call him L) who was in my art class last year. He's the sweetest, cutest kid, and I swear to the heavens he's gay. He's one of my best friends, and he caught my eye today and just smiled. He brightened my mood just for that, and I thought that maybe, i COULD talk to the principal today.. for kids like him. Cuz it'll be something that the school needs, the GSA.. I know that.
I just... can't stop being the shy little idiot I always was
and step up and shout at Mr. B
and tell him that NO! we're not mentally insane
and that yes, we NEED a GSA
and nick, would you stop being a perv and do this for something other than your fantasies of two girls kissing?? I know you care more about this than that...

but i can't..
least not yet

~~~
Sorry for the excruciatingly long post...
and I feel I've let not just myself but a whole lot of other people down at my school
I should have. I really should have. And all this advice and crap is wonderful and inspiring.. but when I get to classes, I just can't bring myself to step out and shout in someone's face and make a point.

damn, i feel like shit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"all girls are bi at heart"
-katja
"all PEOPLE are bi at heart"
-sonya

Neutrina's picture

About the psychiatrist -

About the psychiatrist - that's really horrible. Do you think it's possible he meant you should get one to help kids who are depressed or having trouble accepting themselves, and it didn't come out right?

"When the people begin to reason, all is lost" - Voltaire

railroadhighwaydreams's picture

Yeah, I figure that's really

Yeah, I figure that's really what he was trying to say. When I confronted him after the initial OK from the principal, he only repeated himself, saying that all he was trying to do was help, and he seemed to mean it, though he was quite defensive. He really is a sweet man, but I figure it's because he's just not too comfortable with talking about things like this, (nor does he know a lot about the issues and history of protests and rights movements, etc so he doesn't quite know how to phrase it).
Still though, it's going to take a while before I can talk to him about it again. ... and you can still never be sure if he is all in good taste.
{{god i'm tired, forgive me if that was confusing >.>)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"all girls are bi at heart"
-katja
"all PEOPLE are bi at heart"
-sonya

the mouse that roared's picture

don't beat yourself up, hon.

You clearly believe in this passionately, and I'm sure that there are other people at your school that will come out of the woodwork eventually. It is hard, hard, hard to be the first one to step up and speak out. When everyone else around you constantly devalues your very valid perspective, it starts feeling like maybe you're the crazy one.

That's not true at all. Stick to your guns, babe, because in the end it will be worth it. It might take you ten rescheduled appointments, but I have faith in you. You care so strongly about this, and I can tell that you are a strong, upstanding person just from how you're talking about this. You know who you are, and you know why you want to do this. You can do this, and you can do this on your own time.

I'm not very good at confrontations myself, but in the past week, I've had major conversations with most of the people in my life that I've been having problems with. It takes a lot of courage to speak up, but it feels WONDERFUL when you do. No matter the outcome, it feels great. Keep fighting. You're on the right side of this. Don't let Mr. B or Nick or any of those other insecure, confused people get you down.

You rescheduled the appointment. It's not like you beat up a gay or anything, sweetie. Sometimes we all need time.

No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless; there is too much work to do.--Dorothy Day

railroadhighwaydreams's picture

i was (and still am)

i was (and still am) actually sick from all that... goes to show my strong mind: dizzy and ill on whim >.<

but you're right.
And it's not as though I thought I wouldn't be met with opposition, it's that I guess I was being too idealistic (that and trusting anything someone close to me says are forever my biggest foibles).
I was thinking that whatever they said I could laugh at and debate with them about to show them the other side of it (like I've done with a huge lot of my other oddities: dress, manner, beliefs).
Especially with Mr. B, the fact that it was HIM, really threw me off.
But that's isn't going to stop me of course. I wont' give up. I might make myself sick with worry a hundred times over, but it's something that I'm going to fight for.. cause it'll be worth it to a good load of kids, including me.
That's what I'm sure of, and that's what no one can dissuade me from believing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"all girls are bi at heart"
-katja
"all PEOPLE are bi at heart"
-sonya

the mouse that roared's picture

Great! I know you can do it.

Great! I know you can do it. Don't worry so much there. It will turn out OK, I know it will. Be true to yourself, be true to your ideals, and it will be OK.

My advisor, who I had thought was a pretty cool guy, told me I was going to become a college dropout if I took a semester off. I was kind of taken aback, but of course I'm still considering it. (Not that this is as huge of an issue as fighting for gay safety in your school. But good people make poor judgments & have deep prejudices all the time.)

No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless; there is too much work to do.--Dorothy Day

perple's picture

It'll be fine

Yeah, I'm the president of my GSA, and all we do is keep one topic in mind and just kind of discuss whatever comes to mind. The topic is only there to jumpstart things. Keep up different events at school like day of silence so people feel involved. Talking about news works pretty well too. Just put down for the purpose of the club "support/activism group."

railroadhighwaydreams's picture

After a very long

After a very long hiatus....
...
we've got the OK from the principal!
We went in today at lunch (on a whim from N who asked me casually if I wanted to talk to him right that second). His secretary remembered us of course.

Well, we told him straight out; he's completely behind us (he's made school-wide announcements out of the blue concerning vulgar language and respect. He certainly must know that no one listens to him, but it proves that he cares).
He was also teased horribly for being Italian when he was a kid, so he understands at least that much.

Right now he's out calling the local schools in our district and the neighboring ones to see if they don't also have a GSA.

HIs two main concerns:
-making sure we make it the proper way, so that it's not seen as a Gay Club, but as a support/action group for everyone to battle homophobia and issues. We have to make sure that it doesn't just make it worse for kids.

-Our School Board of Ed just cut our budget this year, so we've lost about 6 clubs school-wide. This is since they don't have money enough to pay the teachers who supervise and/or lead. Since there is no way to appeal to them, and it's not on a type-of-club, but rather a it's-a-club-that-potentially-needs-money basis, our only hope is to find a willing teacher who will work without pay (for the whole time, or perhaps just this year).

So at the very least, we've got the principal. He did NOT bring up a case against too much opposition; I didn't know it, but in past years, the schools' actually had a Faith Club after school, and we've got a Young Democrats and Young Republicans. The past-supervisor of the Faith Club (it's not around anymore) worked without pay.. so it's been done before.

I'm quite pleased that I said alright to my gut feeling and went with N today.. I feel a whole lot better.

Tomorrow or Thursday I'm going to see one of the teachers who spoke to his class about how GLBT should (he really emphasized that according to N) have the same rights as any straight folks.
As far as I know, he's not the head of any other clubs or sports teams, so he might be free to help us. Either way, he might at least have suggestions/advice.

I'll also tell my history teacher. He doesn't teach so much as spread the school news and history. So he'll be sure to blab to all his classes about the GSA.. that'll really make it spread 'round the school. That way, word of mouth will get out.

And yeah, I know that might backfire, kids will start being even more hateful towards it, but if they ever come up to me, I won't falter. And it's the fact that if kids hear about it, they will know it's in existence, and that counts for something.

Right?

*breathe of relief* I feel better in this soul moment of calm then I did coming out to my folks... how odd

Tuck

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"all girls are bi at heart"
-katja
"all PEOPLE are bi at heart"
-sonya

railroadhighwaydreams's picture

{clarification}

N is Nick whom I've mentioned before

And I'm not ignorant of the fact that we've got a huge load of work ahead of us.. and that there's going to be such opposition, and I won't be this pleased tomorrow.
But for the last hours of today, I'll be content...

sing my lynard skynard song...
life's alright
*laughs* I'm insane.

(and I did mean breath not breathe)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"all girls are bi at heart"
-katja
"all PEOPLE are bi at heart"
-sonya

gaynow's picture

YESSS!!!!!

YES!!!! Oh man, congratulations, that's fucking awesome. I'm so proud of youuuuuu!!!! ::glomp:: it'll be fantastic, you'll do a super job. Just the fact that a GSA exists in your school will be such a beacon to any GLBT people there. Be very proud. You're making change. That's wonderful.

Keep us posted!!!!!

Megan: "Cheers are supposed to be simple, make people feel good."
Graham: "Cheers make girls do stupid cartwheels. Orgasms make people feel good."
-But I'm a Cheerleader

jeff's picture

Well...

The opposition has the Bible. You have the Constitution. So, you win.

---
"Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment." - Rumi

Add me on Facebook and MySpace.

railroadhighwaydreams's picture

right, so a wonderfully delayed update

That history teacher I mentioned - Mr. GermanK (mm, I'm bad at coming up with fake names). Anyways, I went to him yesterday at the end of class.
Now you must all keep in mind that I've always been horribly shy, and he's right out there and always ready to question your answers even if they are black & white correct answers (which is /fantastic/ I think, but very intimidating).

So I promised myself I couldn't keep putting off talking to him, so I explained it all to him, for once not shaking from nerves (I'm getting a huge lot better at saying the taboo word at school: GAY (scary ain't it?))
Well, he nodded a few times, and then said that he swore that I was from the same group as the ones that came to him on Monday...

seems we're getting a Multicultural club next year.. which includes discussions on ... RELIGION
and Mr. GermanK said he'd help them if he can find the time to (he's dreadfully busy)

That's huge:
Faith Club has been reborn, and we have the most ancient teacher known to the school on its side; he's as open minded as we thought.

So he said he wants to see bi-laws and parameters before he can figure out how, and if, he can help us. In the meantime, he'll work on suggestions of other teachers who might be able to facilitate a meeting.

But sadly, oh, so very sadly -
The news of the GSA is one of the few things he's kept to himself. Tarzan, one of my good friends, has Mr. GK a few periods before me, so she fills me in with what he does in class: today he said not a word about the GSA to his class (usually he has every word of school gossip to spread about the classroom)

So it's up to me and Nick to spread the word 'round -
whoot
....

Well that's alright -
I told another good friend about the GSA (she knows how I am about homophobic slurs and rights and such; how I'm "so weird")
and all she said was: "you're so obsessed!!"
which is ridiculous because she just means the fact that one (of about 11) of my sketches happens to be Boy George, and now.. oh hark! there's another mention of something remotely gay.
Obssession!!

But it was a good thing to hear. Much like Tarzan's comment that "you would start one of them Tuck, you would".
They are both still just as strong allies as they were before they knew about the GSA
So I've made my mark with people on how I do care about rights and prejudice, and I've made relationships with folks who are well enough off with me to not really care what "oddities" I say and work for.. and some of them are even going to take part in them (Tarzan says she'll come to the GSA meetings).

Right...
that was a dreadfully long, droning update, but I've a mighty headache and lack of sleep (ah Highschool)

Now I'm off to write drafts of bi-laws and mission statements, and call up a few local schools with GSA's; And wait for the principal to call me and N down for another conference.

~.~
cheers

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"all girls are bi at heart"
-katja
"all PEOPLE are bi at heart"
-sonya

the mouse that roared's picture

Yay!!!!

That's so exciting! I'm so proud of you. I don't know if I'd have had the courage to do what you're doing when I was in high school. I'm sorry Mr. GK didn't spread the word. Sometimes seemingly great teachers clam up when they're worried about popularity and homophobia. You can put up posters and stuff, when you're having your first meeting. Though I'm sure you've already thought of that.

Wow. Fantastic. Keep us posted! I'm sure everyone wants to hear how this goes.

No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless; there is too much work to do.--Dorothy Day

leah.persad's picture

GSA Help

Hey sorry to pop in on this thread so late but i thought i might be of some help...

Firstly railroadhighwaydreams, you have an a amazing amount of strength and perserverance to be willing to see this thing through, and you're clearly taking the right steps and holding your ground, which is really incredible. Having starting 2 clubs on my college campus, one GSA, i can sympathize that starting ANY kind of club takes a huge amount of effort to get people to come, advertise, get supporters and keep alive. Starting a GSA is an important step to making everyone feel included in schools, especially high schools. I hope you are still working towards this after the holiday break!

I'm sorry that your teachers are not more supportive, it can be very difficult to go at this alone. I would suggest checking out www.glsen.org first off, the website of the GLSEN (gay, lesbian, and straight education network) organization, which exists specifically to facilitate the creation of GSAs in schools and work towards ending GLBT harassment in schools through GSAs, no name calling week, coming out day, and other education and recognition activities and resources. They can offer you a lot of information and resources for advertising and starting up your GSA and keeping it thriving. I'm not sure where you live, but i live in Pittsburgh and have contact with the GLSEN people here, so if you wanted to email me i can set you up with their emails if you wanted a personal contact. I must admit i'm a bit new to this so i'm not sure if we can privately message each other or whatever... my email is in my profile. Either way if you go on their website under "What We Do" and head to the GSAs page, you'll find a TON of information starting, maintaining, and registering your GSA

I was going to suggest in the earlier threads if you are having trouble getting formal acceptance (though the suggestion that it's illegal to stop you is somewhat technically correct, it's rarely played out and can be very time consuming and trying to pursue legal routes if you are unable to be acknowledged. I work with several high school GSA which are a rarity here in Pittsburgh and one has been fully functioning for over 4 years and still is not recognized) that you could title it a "Diversity Alliance" or something similar. Again, i work with some GSAs (i am a peer youth counselor for a GLBT youth advocacy program) and some have been able to be recognized and dodge problems like the pissy girl getting mad about you "only sticking up for one minority" by using titles like this. But of course if you feel that compromises your mission you should go ahead with a straightforward GSA (titling problems are silly - our GSA was titled GASP! - Gay and Straight People! - and we caught heat for just saying "gay" and "straight" and not including the glbtqshia alphabet!) but it's an off suggestion

Hope this is helpful, i really can't suggest GLSEN enough, they are amazing people with lots of helpful connections and information. Feel free to email me if you need further assistance and please let me/us updated!

railroadhighwaydreams's picture

Well... first off, sorry

Well... first off, sorry (again) for not being on for many moons.
An update:
According to Nick, who is in his history class, Mr. C spent a whole lesson talking ("illegally") on how everyone should have the right to marry, but explicitly mentioning gay (LBT...) rights. A few days later I cajoled Nick into asking him about the GSA and if he could possibly help.
...
Well, he's said yes! Thing is though, he's new this year and Mr. GermanK {{who really is the unofficial head of all the teachers, and it's a fantastic help to have his approval}} does not know him or think very highly of him yet. He's also not sure of his scheduling next year and if he'll have the free time, but we'll take with the principal for that.

Anyways....
that was *gahhh* 3 weeks ago.
We have been trying ever since to get an appointment with the principal.
Tomorrow, hopefully yes.
That means... (And this is why I'm so, so relieved and grateful to see your post, Leah) That we can have our first meeting in the very near future!

SO:
I need to plan out what we will do.
Right. Not so damn easy.
We were planning originally on starting the GSA (officially) next year. Give us enough time to work it all out, and besides, if we start it this year, then it will end in early May. But now really, that seems like an huge waste of time that is going unused.

So right now I need some advice. We have told our principal about GLSEN. As far as I know, he's looked into it, but not very deeply (he's a kind hearted man, but he's always in meetings with the pesky board of ed on his back, and the student council on his every move).

I'm sure he would not be adverse to making announcements and posters for Day of Silence on April 17th. And I'm kicking myself in the bum for missing No-Name Calling Week. (I've been so completely off this last month, and I really don't know why >.<)

But in the immediate future, we're working on how to get the first organizational meeting off to a start.
We've already got:
-deciding on the club rules
-name and logo for posters and such
-ice breakers...

But I'm not sure what else.
As for the rest of the year, we might, /might/ be able to get a few courageous blokes (and a few gals!) to be campy and dress in drag.
We aren't looking to be too much of an activist group, at least not in our first year. It's mainly for support and discussion.

So tomorrow (hopefully) we'll set up a date for the first meeting. We're going to see if he's (the principal) has any information from other local schools on details of their GSAs, but either way, I'll have to scrape together enough courage (or get Nick to do a few more) and we'll call them up ourselves, hopefully getting a student rep as well as faculty.

So please, any ideas for topics to begin with, ice breakers at the beginning of meetings... anything that's been used before, or could possibly work, would be amazingly helpful!
....

cheers y'all (i'm not southern at all, promise ^^)
and thanks ever so much to all of you for your support
//Tuck

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"all girls are bi at heart"
-katja
"all PEOPLE are bi at heart"
-sonya

railroadhighwaydreams's picture

A quick bit

Just so y'all know:
our first meeting is Thursday the 12th (so not this Thursday, but the one after). According to the principal it's to see if we have enough people initially to keep holding meetings (though considering the 10 or so kids at my lunch table are coming, and they've been asking anybody they know who might be interested, I think we're set by authoritative standards).

I have yet to run this by Nick, he'll see it tomorrow, but I'm wondering what you guys think of my impromptu poster idea:
----------------------------------------
"That's so gay!"
STOP THE SLURS
the Gay-Straight Alliance
gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, straight and questioning
Friends and family of
and everyone in between
All are Welcome!
date, time, room, etc
-------------------------------------
~
We'll have our names (me and Nick's) on there if anyone has questions.
the GSA bit will be rainbow,
but the GLBTQS... won't be Gay=pink, lesbian=purple, straight=black, etc. but random colours since that ^ would just be grossly stereotypical.
And while now it sounds more like an activist group, it'll catch people's attention -
so what do you think?
~
I'll update tomorrow, see what Nick has to say about this, and what we can come up with for the morning announcements. First meeting is going to be mainly ice breakers/get to know, so we're coming up with questions and games as well.
So, comments, advice?

'night y'all,
Tuck
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"all girls are bi at heart"
-katja
"all PEOPLE are bi at heart"
-sonya

gaynow's picture

God, you might as well have

God, you might as well have just thrown us a huge pack of Crayola markers. Don't get the gays started! Now we'll all be designing you posters! I myself am a big fan of things like, "This club is so gay." But, that's damn awesome: GOOD LUCK!! Tell us how it goes!!

Megan: "Cheers are supposed to be simple, make people feel good."
Graham: "Cheers make girls do stupid cartwheels. Orgasms make people feel good."
-But I'm a Cheerleader

railroadhighwaydreams's picture

*grins and laughs* (I'm

*grins and laughs* (I'm hoping the meeting will be something just as colourful as that)
Thanks!
I love your idea... and I can't see how a club like this can have just one poster message....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"all girls are bi at heart"
-katja
"all PEOPLE are bi at heart"
-sonya