GSA Supporting LGBTQ+ at Rio Norte


Courtesy of Mercury News

Eveen Olson

Rio Norte’s GSA lunchtime club has started meeting, and more meetings are coming soon! GSA stands for Gay-Straight Alliance, and according to the American Civil Liberties Union, GSAs are “student-led and student-organized school clubs that aim to create a safer, welcoming, and accepting school environment for all youth, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.” Having an LGBTQ+ support group hosted by schools (like Rio Norte’s GSA) can have a positive influence on students’ health, wellness, and overall academic performance. 

LGBTQ+ teens who don’t have alliance programs (and even some who do) tend to suffer from discrimination, anxiety, depression, acedemic difficulties, and even physical harm. A recent study of thousands of LGBTQ teens in our country found that they are not only  “experiencing heartbreaking levels of stress, anxiety and rejection, but also overwhelmingly feel unsafe in their own classrooms.” It is truly heartbreaking to see the results stating that only 26 percent of these teens always felt safe in their own classrooms, and only five percent felt accepted by all adults at their school. Having a club like GSA or other safe spaces at school can be an important way of helping these teens. 

Support at school is very important for teens who don’t have accepting and supportive families at home. Huge numbers of teens in the survey reported feeling depressed or unhappy and having trouble sleeping. Over two thirds have to deal with derogatory comments from family members about the LGBTQ community.  In our school’s GSA club we are working to decide what the club will be about, and how we can create a better environment for students from all backgrounds. Gay-Straight Alliance clubs really benefit from every student’s input. Listen to Rio TV for news about the next GSA meeting to make a better environment for you and your peers, and to keep Rio Norte an understanding and supportive school.