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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » LGBTQA Relationships » GBLT Unions

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Author Topic: GBLT Unions
PenguinBoy
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A few people here have said that they have that kind of thing at their school, and it's been recommended to lots of people that they start up similar groups at their own school.

My school currently has nothing of the sort. And I've been thinking about whether or not it's needed.

I'm not sure if they'd allow it, because they would have to consent, and so would be indirectly endorsing it and so would lose their neutrality.

I think what I'm really asking is of the people who've been involved in the organisation of such things, what these unions are like and if they're helpful.

Do many people turn up?
Does it ever cause problems from homophobes who find out who's attended the meetings?
What does the group actually do?

[ 01-30-2007, 11:09 AM: Message edited by: PenguinBoy ]

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Jacob - my Scarleteen Blog - Please help sustain scarleteen

Posts: 633 | From: Bedfordshire, UK | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
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I loved our GSA!! It's incredibly useful to have something like that around.

I don't know how starting clubs works in the UK, but in the US we had to fill out a form to hand in to the principal, where we outlined what kind of club it would be, what we'd do, etc. And we needed to have at least three people interested in running it and we needed to sound enthusiastic enough to convince the principal that we'd actually stick to this and be serious about it. Also, we had to find a teacher who'd be willing to 'chaperone' us (not actually attend all the meetings, but approve of our plans and sort of watch out that we didn't do anything crazy).

At our first meeting, 10ish people showed up, and these were mostly people who knew we were going to start the club and had been working with us to get it on the road. Eventually, we had an average of 10-15 people showing up for weekly meetings, but it wasn't always the same people (there was a core of like 5 of us who always showed, the rest fluctuated). If we had big events - like our Queer As Folk movie night - we sometimes had 20 or so people showing. Our school was fairly small, so that was a good turn out.

We had a strict policy about secrecy. Some of our members were openly out, but many were closeted, and we made sure no one ever talked about members outside of the meetings. We did announce our regular meetings on the school bulletin board, but aside from a few homophobic remarks to those of us who were out, there was never any explicit bullying and we never had any issues with people coming to our meetings to cause trouble.

For regular meetings, we usually just sat around and talked about what was going on in our lives. If someone was new/had a specific issue they wanted to talk about, we helped them out. Mostly, it was just a relief to be able to talk without having to censor yourself, so it happened quite a lot that we did nothing but talk about movies we'd seen recently. If some gay-related item had come up in the news, we'd discuss that.

Special things we did was organize the Day of Silence, put up posters around the school to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, etc. Once we organized a meeting with the entire staff to give them pointers about how to be more inclusive in class. And our 'president' helped the Health teacher by giving presentations about homosexuality in health class. About once a month, we had our movie nights (QaF was a regular thing, also other gay-themed movies).

Okay. Now that I've written a novel ...
If you have any other questions, just ask. [Smile]

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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PenguinBoy
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Sounds fun [Big Grin] . What does GSA stand for? Gibbon Symbiosis Armpit... maybe not.

I've asked one bi friend about it, and she said that she wouldn't necessarily turn up, because she's mostly out, but wouldn't want any teachers to know and that she didn't necessarily need any help, due to being quite secure.

Her opinion is that it'd not be very successful, Because people who attended would probably be mocked. Especially so in the main school; we being in sixth form.

There was Christian union, for ages, but apparently allot of the people who went were just called Bible bashers. And so at our school there's potential reason for people not wanting to attend something which has negativity in the majority of the populous.

I think that's perhaps a reason why it's possibly needed.

I don't think I actually know of anyone else who's out, or identifies as bi or gay, or publicly recognises it. My hope was that they could come out of the wood work and maybe have somewhere... if they do exist.

I'm going to carry on thinking about it.

I also don't know whether parental consent would be needed, and if so, that would definitely jepodise my own involvement.

If you've ever heard me talk about my dad; he actually believes there is a national conspiracy to turn people gay. I don't know what he'd do if he thought I was part of it. With "my strategic gayifying cult".

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September
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GSA stands for Gay Straight Alliance.

I don't know how succcessful it'd be at a regular school. The school I attended was quite small, and it was all-IB (international baccelaureate), so the 'dumb bully' type didn't really attend. Still, there was mockery, but only directed at those of us who were out to begin with, and we just ignored it.

I don't know how the rules and regulations work at your school. We did not need parental consent to form a club, or to attend it.

And I know about being embarrassed for the teachers to find out. Most of my teachers already thought I was a freak, I so did not want to add homosexuality to the list. Because of that, I didn't go with my friends the first time they talked to the principal. But they told me later that he was really great about it, and he never treated them any differently for having come out. So the next time, I went along. It was definitely wierd at first, but eventually it stopped bothering me.

Statistics on homosexuality vary, I've heard everything from 1 in 5 to 1 in 10. Either way, chances are there are some other homosexuals at your school. So if you started putting together a GSA of sorts, some of them really might come forward.

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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lindsaymarie
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Ooh we have a GSA at our school. I've been meaning to join, but I have too many other extracurricular activities. They do this thing called the "Day of Silence" where participants take a vow of silence for a day to sort of symbolise the isolation that homosexuals go through and what not. It was really fun and we got t-shirts and afterwards there was a party and we all could talk and eat and stuff. They also do movie screenings and what not.

The beginning of freshman year and end of eighth grade especially during orientation and stuff I saw a lot of kids saying things like "haw haw you should join GLASS(Gay Lesbian and Straight Students)" and I'd always cut in and be like "yeah! you should! I'm joining!" Now kids don't really seem to care though.

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not_a_hobgoblin
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Oh, I wish I wish our school had one, but we need a teacher to act as sponsor, and all the ones I'd trust are already sponsoring other clubs. Plus, it's my senior year, so by the time we got it up and running... I'd be graduated and gone.
Add in the fact that I only know a few gay people, and they've got their own issues. One is still closeted at home. One has the spirit for the thing, but is rather well known as a 'revolutionary' type and also has an issue attention span of about 4 days. Another is so well loved by teachers and students alike, but he's not a leader of anything. Finally, the one lesbian I know and I have a mutual hate relationship.

I'm not even really ready to lead this effort either; I am out to exactly 2 people at my school, and none of the above are either of those people.

*sigh* college, college, college...

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"She is a witch!"
"But she's our witch. Cut her down."

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feefiefofemme
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The best thing about GSAs and QSAs (Queer-Straight Alliance) is that lovely little 'S'. Seriously. Most of the people in my school's GSA are straight, or just not out yet. Many of them are in it because they have GLBT friends or relatives, and some just because they believe in tolerance and love and joy.

Our GSA is loads and loads of fun, even if we're not totally on top of everything (we get a lot done, but in a very... leisurely manner). Next year I'm hoping to be an officer and help get us a little more on track, but on the whole I'm happy with things as is. It's just a nice, supportive environment to be in.

We get a pretty fair turnout--the "core group" is around 10 people, but sometimes up to 20 come when we have more exciting meetings (not that GSA isn't exciting all the time). What we do is organize awareness-raising events for things like Straight Ally Week, National Coming Out Day, Transgender Remembarance Day, and Day of Silence (our biggest event). We also helped our school's Advanced Drama class put on The Laramie Project and are planning to march in the San Francisco Pride Parade. When we're not working on stuff like that, we eat brownies and lollypops, talk about Disney movies, and have L Word-watching parties. This year, we're also doing 'Secret Valentine' within our club, and are giving each other clues and presents/baked goods.

I don't think club members being harrassed is a huge issue at our school. That is, no one has been physically hurt (*knock on wood*). But there is some verbal harrassment from some (insert angry word) people. It's not too bad, though.

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plain milyeh
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in my experience, homophobes generally aren't focussed enough to bother with actually crashing meetings (seriously, nobody wants to go to a meeting they don't have to go to to sit in a room with a bunch of people they consider inherently icky, with a teacher present who will kick 'em out if they try to make any trouble). therefore, meetings make for a really good safe space for people to vent frustrations with homophobic reactions to actions group members have taken. the group at my old high school was basically started as a way for people to get together and brainstorm better ways to deal with homophobia after day of silence. it was really great. i definitely wouldn't worry about homophobes infiltrating your meetings...the homophobia will be present in the school regardless, and having a time and place you can go talk with other people who are upset about it is a big plus.
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Ikeren
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I wish there was a GSA at our school, but the prominent gay activist is no longer at our school, and I think I'm number 2 when it comes to, "Actually trying to do something", and I'm just far too busy.

My main worry would be somebody coming and pretending to be worried about being gay/coming out who is actually straight, and then posting a name list somewhere for harassment purposes.

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Light
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Well, of course, Ikeren, it is a Gay-Straight Alliance, and the point is to lower barriers and educate, so any straight people should be welcomed with open arms. And of course, if straight people are attending also, the list of names idea breaks down as not everyone in the club is gay.
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