Lively, stimulating conversations. An inspiring quote written across the wall. A friendly bond between students.
All are present at the weekly meetings of the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA). Previously called the Gay Straight Alliance, the name was changed two years ago to be more inclusive of all sexualities.
“There’s more to sexuality than being gay or straight, and there’s people in the school who do not fit within… the binary gender spectrum, so we want to make sure that everyone feels welcome,” said Club President Nora Zich.
There are four seniors: Nora Zich, Ernesto Fritz, Libby Lanza, and John Watson, who co-lead the GSA. Students become leaders by stepping up and taking initiative.
The GSA is advised by social studies teachers Michael Garbus and Robert Geremia. The meetings are held in Garbus’ room every Wednesday at STEP. At the meetings, the alliance focuses on a certain topic that they will all talk about. “We try to organize discussions. We have some little quirks, like our vice president always has a quote of the week that he says – usually a little weird, but funny,” said Zich.
The GSA works on promoting LGBT made media, such as books and movies. “We have organizations come in every year, we give out resources to students, and we try to make sure that our club… is there so people know that we’re there in case they need us,” said Zich.
They also run events celebrating the LGBT community, such as the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20 and Pride day in June. Senior John Watson, GSA’s treasurer, runs a “GaysinHistory” snapchat. “I do that to say, oh yeah, gay people and trans people have been around as long as humans have been around,” said Watson.
One of the main goals of the GSA is to be a safe place for all students. Secretary Libby Lanza, who moved to Wilson her junior year, described how joining the GSA helped her transition to the new school. “It was just really nice to have a community where people were like, yeah, you’re cool, welcome,” said Lanza.
“Despite popular belief, you don’t need to be LGBT to be a member of the club, because a big part of it is the alliance aspect,” said Zich. The discussions are loud and rambunctious. “It’s always an enjoyable place to be,” said Zich. •