GSA raising awareness of LGBTQ+ community’s needs for Ally Week

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GSA raising awareness of LGBTQ+ community’s needs for Ally Week

Abby Ann Ramsey, Editor-in-chief

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Led by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), “Ally Week” strives to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues and how supporters of the community can be allies to their peers. 

Bearden’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) is preparing to promote Ally Week the week of Sept. 23-27 by handing out stickers for members of the LGBTQ+ community and their fellow supporters while answering any and all questions that students may have.

The voices of many members of the LGBTQ+ community often go unheard, especially when they try to talk about their own struggles, which is why they believe it is so important for straight students to speak out and advocate for them.

“We need our allies to have the platform, and the voice, and the influence to say the things that sometimes we would get ignored for saying,” said Maddie Bradley, who is one of the three presidents of GSA this year.

Ally Week is not necessarily something difficult for people to participate in, as the main goal is to simply make more students aware of the struggles that LGBTQ+ students go through. It is all about encouraging students to take small steps toward being allies.

“We just need folks that show support, even if it’s in small ways like putting your pronouns in your bio on Instagram,” Bradley said. “Like all these little things that you don’t even think about twice, they really matter to a lot of folks.”

Aside from Ally Week, GSA works to provide a space for any LGBTQ+ students, so they can have a safe environment in school.

“The whole point is essentially just creating a safe, educational, but also like accepting and loving space where everyone has the opportunity to be completely, authentically themselves and also learn about the community,” Bradley said.

Applying the same principles as Ally Week, GSA likes to encourage any student to attend, especially because it is all about bringing straight and LGBTQ+ people together to bond.

“So everyone is welcome to GSA, and one thing we’re really big on is we never police who comes in,” Bradley said.

GSA is sponsored by Ms. Catherine Wood, Madame Melanie Kennedy, and Mrs. Nescha Lee, all of whom provide a home for members of the club.

“[They] are essentially our… protectors,” Bradley said. “They provide a safe space, not only within their classrooms during actual school hours, but they always provide a space for people to be authentically themselves and to come to them with issues.

“We feel like there’s a safe space within the school and feel like there are other allies that are adults that are going to help us no matter what.”

To support Ally Week, GSA will set up a table during all lunches next week to pass out stickers for LGBTQ+ students and their allies, while also putting up signs from anonymous Bearden students that state what they need from straight students in order to feel supported. Club members are also interested in simply getting the conversation about LGBTQ+ rights started with people who have questions.

Other GSA presidents include Liz McKnight and Julianna Kramer, and meetings take place every Friday afternoon in Ms. Wood’s room, Room 335. 

“We are a chosen family, and we provide that feeling of community and that feeling of like… unconditional love,” Bradley said.

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