Gay-Straight Alliance: an addition to Fergus High

By: 
Marie Brunkhorst
Fergus High Journalism Student

The latest addition to Fergus High’s community, GSA, is meant to boost participants’ morale, and encourages them to befriend new people. The GSA Club, an acronym for Gay-Straight Alliance, or Genders and Sexualities Alliance, is an organization that encourages the heterosexual and the LGTBQ community to support one another, as well as provide a safe environment to socialize. A club that is recognized nationwide, GSA also creates a stepping stone for human rights in abolishing prejudice in both schools, as well as any possible neighborhood biases.

With no fees to pay, and meetings usually held during lunch hours every couple of weeks, Fergus’ GSA recently elected their officers. Garrett Fowler, a junior, was democratically elected president by the members.

Fowler spoke about the benefits it would have for the school, saying, “[The GSA would] definitely help people be more educated on [sexual orientation].”

The school benefits from this club because of its message about tolerance. Holly Heser, a junior-senior English teacher, and one of the advisers for the club, stated, “In a lot of cases, there are still negative feelings or fear, on the parts of some students toward gay or lesbian or transgender people.”

Heser said she discovered the idea from a teacher’s magazine, and teaming up with Sandy Armstad, decided to take on the head advisory role.

“I like to view people just as people. And I think that that’s really important if anyone can join because it’s an alliance of all different people. So it’s not making a statement about yourself if you join; saying I’m this or I’m that – we’re just coming together as people that are concerned about possible prejudices or bullying,” she said.

GSA is there to quell these hateful vibes by allowing students to speak about their ideas and any concerns they had, and to share their mission statement.

“They brainstormed ideas for how they could potentially involve other students in the club, and I know we’ve talked about doing an extension on the Kindness Challenge, just to get the name of the club out there, and to promote kindness and acceptance and tolerance for all students,” said one adviser.

The GSA is meant to be a supportive group, and meetings are kept confidential.

“Whatever’s said in the room, stays in the room,” Fowler said. “We can’t make any assumptions. It’s kind of a little oath we took.”

Any members who join have the option to remain anonymous to the community, for precautionary reasons.

Members feel that it is not only an improvement to the school, but also to themselves, as they feel that they are making a difference, and helping improve the environment of Fergus’s campus.

Anyone interested in joining has the right to know that it is just for support; there is no judgment for who you are, your sexuality, be it straight or not. GSA is there to let people know that there are people who are willing to listen and to help those in need of acceptance.

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