In late February, Lakeview freshman Jessica Roach hosted the first meeting of the Lakeview chapter of GSA – formerly known as Gay Straight Alliance. Roach’s objective is to build an atmosphere at Lakeview in which all students feel safe being open about their sexuality without being judged. Roach explained, “The GSA is a social, active, supportive, and student lead club (with help from Mrs. Morningstar-Gray and Mrs.Abbot). We’re here to cause awareness about the LGBT Community.”
The cool thing about this club is that it is open to all students as it is comprised of LGBTQ+ and straight students working together for the common goal of creating a positive atmosphere where discrimination, bullying, and cruelty directed toward students on the basis of sexuality cease to exist. Because the larger society in which we live experiences discrimination, bullying, and cruelty toward the LGBTQ+ community, these problems can trickle down to our school. Through GSA, Roach is working to change this.
Roach said she was inspired to start this club when she “started questioning… the discrimination against gender sexuality [she saw happening] and decided to do something about it and promote around the school that [differences are] not so bad.”
In fact, this is not the first time Roach has tried promoting this club. Last year Roach did a project for Andria Morningstar-Gray’s class and discovered that her classmates weren’t fans of her beliefs, so she decided that education was the best approach to bringing a positive change. She put up flyers about these meetings to get more attention. About half of the class showed up, and through these meetings they organized a “Day of Silence” which was a day where people attending the club did not speak all day in honor and memory of LGBT people who have committed suicide as a result of the discrimination, bullying, and cruelty they experienced.
This year the club is working to organize more activities. They intend to open up the “Day of Silence” to those who have been bullied in general. They also plan on attending a pride parade, but that will be later on down the road.
Lakeview students have shown support for the club. Senior Wyatt Roach said, “I think it’s an excellent idea for people who identify as LGBT to come out and engage and not be ashamed of it.”
Senior Sean Galela responded similarly stating, “Yes, I think it’s a good idea. I think it has potential as a safe place for people who don’t know what they identify themselves as because they don’t have to label themselves. And, straight students can still attend the meetings.”
Roach explained that when the first meeting was held this year, she thought only three people would show including herself, but there are six other members in the GSA Club. The club meets after school on Wednesdays in conference room 113 across from the guidance office.
Suicide is the number one leading cause of death in the LGBT community. However, Lakeview makes a great effort to create a safe environment for all students where they can all be treated equal. I see this club as a movement against discrimination of LGBT students. We as a student body have the most influence on the overall atmosphere in our school and have the ability to stop all discrimination. We have a choice to be the bullies or be the change.