In my Being Out thread, a GSA got mentioned and I got immediate support for the idea from my admin, so I’m starting this thread a little as a journal and for future reference if other people are interested in trying to get a GSA going elsewhere.
GSAs started as "Gay Straight Alliance"s but now often stand for “Gender and Sexuality Alliance” to better cover supporting more than just gay people and to explicitly include more of the LGTBQ community while still welcoming and including allies. Traditionally, they are student founded and led in middle and high schools. With the array of students ISD 287 serves, I as a staff member am spearheading and directing the effort at our building (SEC) while trying to keep as much of the direction and work in the hands of the students as possible.
- With admin’s green light, put a blurb in the weekly Principal’s newsletter asking for any interested staff to contact me
- Got a couple emails from staff, including a link to this Jump Start a GSA guide
- Leveraged the 2 school psychologists who run the building Student Council since I have little experience with the other programs in the building outside of SECA (alternative HS) where I teach
- By email with the other interested staff, figured out a date, time, location for first meeting and picked a couple starting activities from the first section of the GSA jump start guide
- Included a SECA announcements slide about a new GSA forming, describing what it is
- Put up flyers around the building on Monday for the meeting happening on Friday
First Meeting 11/16:
- Encouraged the first couple SECA students to arrive to go back to SECA and gather other students they thought maybe would/should come (the students’ idea). We ended up with ~8 SECA students and ~3 students from a couple other programs. We also had about 6 staff there.
- Started by going over what L, G, B, T stand for and what GSA stands for and is
- Introduced myself as genderqueer
- Went around the circle with name, program, and grade (or role if a staff member).
- From the jump start guide, handed 2 index cards per person. On the first, we wrote why we came there that day. We found just one other person to share that with. I then asked if anyone wanted to share to the whole group and a couple students came out to the group. I did a “thumbs up” check that the group would keep what was shared in the meeting confidential, because it was not clear if the sharing students wanted to be out to the whole building.
- On the second index card we wrote about our priorities for the group - what we were hoping to accomplish with this club
- On a large sheet on the wall I made Venn diagram circles for “Advocacy”, “Social”, and “Support”.
- We went around the room saying what was on the card and then taping it onto the most appropriate area of the chart; a lot of our cards ended up connecting to giving and/or getting support for each other with a few scattered elsewhere.
With that we were about out of time. Everyone seemed to think it went well and was a good experience. Our next meeting is Friday 12/7. I’ll post back here about what we did. I made a new flyer using piktochart.