Club Hub: Gay-Straight Alliance

Thomas Chan

Pictured above is a patch of the rainbow flag, used to show support for the LGBT community. Students in the Alliance work to make the school a safer place for LGBT students. “You don’t have to be gay or know someone to gay or have to be questioning,” club advisor Naomi Rosenthal said. “The Alliance is really for people who want a safe school and want to contribute that.”

Sitting in advisory, students look up to the projector to find a video playing. A man appears on the screen, a man who, despite initially being opposed to homosexuality, became an ally to the LGBT community. As the screen fades to black, the teacher walks up to the front of the room and asks, “So what did you think about the video?”

This video was a Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) talk given by a Mormon who became an ally to the LGBT community. It was shown in every advisory this year as a lesson plan organized by the Alliance.

The Alliance, also known as the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), is a student-run club, aiming to make the school a more welcoming place, especially for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and asexual (LGBTQA) community.

“The main goals [for the club] are to create a safe space for LGBT students, an area where they don’t feel like they’re going to be judged,” club president Declan Nolan said. “Although Wayland is more progressive than other schools, it’s not all the way there.”

Activities during club meetings range from free-form discussions to watching LGBT-related movies to organizing events. Just two months ago, the Alliance made posters and a playlist of songs for lunch during Ally Week.

“We relate [issues] to our everyday lives, and then some people bring up their personal experiences,” vice president Linda Zhang said. “Sometimes it gets very personal, and other times it’s just an outlet for emotions because you can’t bring these kinds of topics to the dinner table.”

Every year, the Alliance plans an event during Winter Week where people from Parents, Family, & Friends of Lesbian and Gays (PFLAG) come to educate students about LGBT youth.

Although the club is mainly student run, the club’s advisors, Jennifer Sullivan and Naomi Rosenthal, offer guidance by “feeding items into the agenda” or informing the club leader about LGBT-related information. Rosenthal encourages people to check the club out, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identification.

“You don’t have to be gay or know someone who is gay or have to be questioning,” Rosenthal said. “The Alliance is really for people who want a safe school and want to contribute that.”

Sophomore Anna Marobella joined the club because she wanted to make a difference.

“I realized there’s a lot of discrimination and unfairness to the LGBTQ community, and I felt that I could do my part by joining GSA,” Marobella said.

Members of the GSA agree that the most important part of the club is feeling safe around each other. They meet on Mondays, directly after school until about 3:30 p.m., in the guidance office conference room.

“It’s a really great community, and we all feel really safe around each other, and I think that’s a really great thing to have in a club,” Marobella said.