Gender and Sexuality Alliance tears down barriers

Gender and Sexuality Alliance tears down barriers

Imagine waking up every day and putting on a mask to hide who you truly are. Imagine needing to pretend to be somebody else to please your parents and the other people around you. Imagine never truly being honest with someone. That is, until you get to school on Tuesday morning and are able to go to a Gender and Sexuality Alliance meeting. There you can be honest and truthful. There you will not be judged for your sexuality or gender identity. Only at the GSA meeting are you able to be completely yourself. For many kids, this is a reality.

In fact, in 2010, according to the National School Climate survey, 82% of LGBT+ youth faced issues with bullying, and the vast majority felt unsafe at school due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identification. GSA programs, such as the one at DHS, help prevent LGBTQIA+ students from feeling discriminated against by combining all sexualities and genders into one group and allowing them to discuss issues revolving around the topic of discrimination.

GSA programs also act as support groups for all types of students. These programs help individuals who may not feel supported or welcomed at home. The support network unites students, and helps them to not feel alone or unimportant.

Freshman Charlotte Correiro explains that you can “talk about literally anything and nobody will judge you, especially about things that normally people would judge you for like your sexuality.”

In addition, GSA brings awareness to the student body as a whole by showing that students of different sexualities and gender identities exist and are important. It educates students on different issues and terms associated with LGBTQIA+ youth.

“Every meeting we would discuss a different topic, like general things (e.g. the difference between pansexual and bisexual), great events (e.g. legalization in different states), tragic events (hate crimes), etc.” said senior and former GSA officer Nicole Ponte.

GSA tears down the barrier between straight, cisgender (a gender identity where a person’s gender corresponds to the person’s biological sex) students and LGBTQIA+ students by showing how students of different sexualities and gender identities are not as different as people believe. The GSA group creates a more knowledgeable, accepting, and friendlier school environment for LGBTQIA+ youth.

By trying to become “more politically engaged,” as Adviser and History Teacher Laura Magno put it, the GSA program is currently working together, as a group, to write letters to send to our legislature to express its support on the issue of transgender equality in Massachusetts.

The acronym GSA formerly stood for Gay Straight Alliance. Now, the acronym means Gender and Sexuality Alliance. This switch was made to embrace students of different sexualities and gender identities.

Ms. Magno said, “There aren’t just two boxes. You might not be just straight or gay. You may not be either male or female.”

Freshman Samantha Moniz views GSA as being “an open environment” for everyone even if your sexuality is viewed as the norm.

“You don’t have to identify as anything in LGBT+ to be involved in our club, you just have to support it,” said Ms. Magno.

GSA meets in room C21 before school on Tuesdays.