Equality, fairness, rights, and marriage are all sometimes taken away from those who are members of the LGBTQ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer) community, simply because of their sexual preferences. Teens that are a part of the LGBTQ community are greatly impacted, which is why GSA’s (Gay Straight Alliances) are formed in high schools, including Woodland,to show support for the rights of the gay community.
Woodland Regional High School’s GSA is filled with many students looking to get involved in the LGBTQ community. There are a great amount of freshman, along with both new and old sophomores, juniors and seniors.
“GSA stands for Gay-Straight Alliance. It is all about equality,” said GSA advisor Jessica Block. “It’s a group of people who consider themselves allies, meaning we are all on the same side in believing we all deserve to be treated equally regardless of gender expression or relationship preferences.”
A great misunderstanding about Woodland’s GSA is that it is a club for gay people, just like the misunderstanding that Woodland for Women Worldwide is just for women. A man can support women’s rights, just like a straight person can support the rights of the LGBTQ community.
While she has always been involved in the club, this is Blocks first year as the full-time advisor for GSA. Block became involved with the GSA when she was invited by Megan Hatch, former advisor of GSA, to co-chaperone the field trip to True Colors, a non-profit organization that works with other organizations to ensure that the needs of the LGBTQ youth are both recognized and completely met. Every year since then, Block has chaperoned the trip to True Colors and attended more and more meetings.
“I feel strongly about equality, and I’ve known lots of people over the years who were LGBTQ or otherwise did not fit their gender stereotypes,” said Block. “I’m glad we seem to be moving toward a culture that is more welcoming of the diversity that exists in the population.”
This year, GSA’s goals include maintaining a dedicated group of members that attend all the meetings, attending conferences in the area, and reaching out to other GSA’s. Also, the GSA wants to continue acts of kindness that were put into place in the past couple of years: one example being the Hawks Chain of Change. This chain of change hangs in the library in order to recognize kind things students and staff have been observed doing to create a stronger sense of community at Woodland.
The GSA is a place where everyone is accepted.
“We talk about making the world a better place and giving everyone a fair chance at being their best selves,” said Block.
If you are interested in becoming a part of the GSA, meeting are held in room 207 on select Thursdays after school from 2:05-3:10.