Point-Counterpoint: Gay Straight Alliance
by Aniko Zala, Staff Writer
I realize that by defining what a gay-straight alliance is I run the risk of sounding repetitive. The discussion surrounding this issue has certainly brought up this information countless times; yet, most likely, much of this information has been incorrect, or at least partially incorrect. Thus, I will begin by defining clearly and most directly the purpose of a gay-straight alliance, or GSA.
A GSA is a student-led, student-organized club that aims to create a safe, welcoming and accepting school environment. The term “gay-straight alliance” realizes the club’s efforts to embrace the differences among all involved.
The purpose of this club is not in any way to discuss sex. It is to address issues. GSA’s generate conversation about relevant topics. Through this conversation, this open dialogue that some are unable to have anywhere else, students are able to understand themselves and their world better. The purpose of this club is to promote this open dialogue, and through that, an acceptance of issues, ideas and other students. A GSA promotes what we have been taught from grade one: that tolerance, acceptance and understanding are key.
The GSA at our school is a club, just like any other club at West G. Just as participation in Key Club, Curio, and hockey is optional, involvement in the school’s GSA is voluntary. Participation is open to everyone, but in no way is involvement forced upon anyone. Also, a GSA is just like any other club at West G in that its aim is to benefit the students.
The GSA does benefit many students of West G. It is a support group, a place for students to feel comfortable. In addition to talking about history, current events, and general bias, students are able to talk about issues that affect them directly every day. Many students do not have this kind of opportunity to express themselves anywhere else. This open forum for discussion is the key as to why a GSA is effective. It advocates acceptance and a safe school environment through discussion, education, and understanding. And also, just like any club, involvement in the Alliance is optional. It is a place for people who are interested to talk and feel comfortable about the issues with which they are concerned.
It is important to realize that it is gay and straight students alike who are creating this club. The students who are involved are the same people we see every day: classmates, friends’ brothers and sisters, and for the adults reading this paper, the children of the people they know. The students involved are not strangers; they are members of the community who we are all connected to in some way. These are students who seek to understand themselves and their world better and that is the basic purpose of the Alliance.