The Power of Acceptance: GSA on Campus

This is a GSA symbol.

This is a GSA symbol.

In a time where the world appears so divided, it can seem like a safe place is out of reach for many people. This is also the case for middle school students, especially when they feel different from their peers. Middle school is the most common time for youth to begin questioning their sexuality and gender, so it’s critical to have a built-in support system. Thankfully, Oak Middle School has a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club for that exact reason. 

Middle school is an important time for tweens and teens to figure themselves out in terms of sexuality or gender. An article from the Family Acceptance Project explains how common it is for youth to be told that their sexualities are simply a phase they will grow out of once they get older. The idea that kids, especially middle school-aged, are unable to understand themselves is detrimental to the independence they are so striving for. Thankfully, there is a solution to this. 

While a GSA club can’t crush the discrimination so prevalent in our society, it creates a safe space for students to be around people who understand and care about what they are going through. A GSA club can also help students learn about each other. According to Shay Murray, a teacher at Oak and the organizer of the GSA club for the past few years, many of the students that attend are straight allies looking to support their friends and learn as much as they can. 

One of the eighth-grade student leaders explains that GSA has helped them understand different types of people and different identities. With seven billion people in the world, GSA clubs are helping to educate young people on common experiences that shape the lives of those they will encounter. 

Any student can appreciate a safe space, no matter the topic. Members of GSA agree that it is imperative to have this safe space for LGBTQ+ youth and anyone questioning. GSA is doing its best to support the on-campus experience and encourage inclusivity for all students.