The Lion's Roar

Gay Straight Alliance

Sean Tomasetto, Staff Writer

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Mural painted by GSA – Photo by Sean Tomasetto

LGBT is defined by Dictionary.com as ‘relating to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders collectively’, and the Gay Straight Alliance here at West, also known as the GSA, aims to provide a comfortable, supportive, and non-judgmental environment for anybody who comes, regardless of sexual identity.

GSA can be found every Monday after school (except the third Monday of each month) in room D5. When asked about the GSA’s purpose, student Josh McCauley said that “we want to raise awareness and provide space for people to talk and feel safe.” This was incredibly evident on my first visit to GSA. The environment was entirely casual and promoted free speech, and at no point did I ever feel excluded or ostracized for who I was. There was no sign of abuse or mockery, but instead constructive conversation and encouragement.

One doesn’t have to be LGBT to be a part of GSA. The group accepts new members of any sexuality, and Mrs. Schmarak states that “everything’s okay here as long as everyone is comfortable.” Students who are questioning their own sexualities are encouraged to drop in for a meeting to encounter people willing to listen to them. For all those worried about personal stuff getting out, GSA policy officially states that nothing somebody says during a meeting leaves the meeting unless the student is explicitly comfortable with it, or if there is a suggestion of danger to either the speaker or someone else.

For any questions or concerns regarding GSA, you can email Mrs. Schmarak at [email protected] For information and advice regarding LGBT matters, visit http://bgiok.org.uk/. It is my honest hope that anybody that is questioning their sexuality or just needs a safe space to feel comfortable can check out GSA.

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Gay Straight Alliance