On Monday, Coral Gables Senior High’s Gay Straight Alliance Club held its first meeting of the year. The new GSA club is sponsored by Mrs. Hernandez, a school counselor, and aims to provide all students a safe space that is free of discrimination or prejudice. The GSA is open to students from all walks of life: gay, straight, or anywhere in between. As of October 21, the club will begin meeting on a biweekly basis.
The first meeting was a success, with thirty students in attendance. The meeting was held in Ms. Monzon’s room and occurred between 2:30 and 3:30. Students enthusiastically sat among the leopard print walls and suggested ideas to improve the club in the upcoming months.
“No one should feel left out of the club,” said an anonymous student. “It’s like a family now.”
GSA is all inclusive to students of all sexual orientations and genders, and this meeting set the groundwork for the rest of the year. The club is also united in its mission to bring students together while increasing awareness and safety within the school. Arguably, GSA by far the most unique out of all the clubs, as it incorporates and rejoices the differences of all students as well as encourages individuality. President Loraine Cruz stated, “This year I want the club to focus on promoting awareness not only for LGTB students, but for everyone. I have very high expectations this year for the GSA. I want us to be a support team for any student who is being bullied or having issues.”
The school will enforce a strict privacy rule, where no private information given by students will be disclosed. No students who attends the meetings will be outed or forced out of the closet, meaning that parents are not entitled to information pertaining to your sexual or gender orientation. This club is meant to be a place where students can talk about their lives, form new relationships with their peers, and explore options of advocating for school safety. The club will do anything and everything to protect the rights of its students.
Next week the club will commence the celebration of Ally Week; an event meant to prevent and end bulling and harassment in schools towards LGBT youth. For those unfamiliar with the term, LGBT is an acronym for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual.” Anyone who takes a stand against anti-LGBT bullying and harassment can be an Ally. This event will not only include the LGTB community, but all straight and cisgender allies.
A table will be set up during the week at both lunches where students can sign a pledge to be a part of the movement towards a safer school for all students. Anti-bullying bracelets will be sold at two dollars a piece, and all profits will go to benefit the club’s endeavors for this important cause. Over the course of the year, the club is planning on having a variety of events, with each month focusing on a different theme meant to provide opportunities for increased awareness and self-growth, and including several field trips and after school events.
The club members and their sponsor have great expectations for this club and its achievements in the years to come. The club seeks to improve the school and make it a safer and more inclusive learning environment than it was before; all students deserve to feel accepted and safe at school. Anyone who wishes to obtain additional information about GSA or is interested in speaking to someone concerning LGBT issues can contact either Mrs. Hernandez or his/her school counselor.