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North’s GSA- Part 1

North's Gender Sexuality Alliance club is just one of the organizations offered here but it plays a big role in students' lives.

GSA%27s+poster+that+can+be+found+around+campus.
GSA's poster that can be found around campus.

GSA's poster that can be found around campus.

GSA's poster that can be found around campus.

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Here at North, there truly is something for everyone. There’s classes that cater to all types of interests and, even if academics aren’t a good fit, there’s surely a club for each and every student here. One of the groups that anyone on campus could join, regardless of age, social standing, or any other factor, is the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA). Held in Mrs. Strouf’s room, H-27, during lunch on Tuesdays.  GSA is a positive and welcoming environment for all students, whether they identify as LGBTQ+ or if they are there to be an ally to the community.

After sitting in on one of the meetings of GSA, it’s very clear that the club is focused on being inclusive and sensitive to members’ identities. The group didn’t have a set topic to discuss at this particular gathering, so they all took turns telling stories about the experiences they’d had in the past week with other members of the LGBTQ+ community. They also have a routine of going around the table to introduce themselves and give the pronouns that they use. Members are careful to use everyone’s correct pronouns and names, which gives the club a very inviting feeling.

While the meetings are not organized and certain topics aren’t picked out to be the focus of every meeting, the conversation usually sticks to one theme through the short gatherings. President of the club who prefers to be called Jones says that people should just give GSA a chance. “I feel like a lot of people just dismiss it or dislike it without really giving the club a chance,” Jones says. They have been in GSA for two years and have experienced the club go through many changes. All they ask is that people come to a meeting to see what it’s all about for themselves.

Jones also spoke on some of the heavier topics that the club brings up in meetings such as discrimination and the inclusion of LGBT folks on campus. Jones says, “I really want the members to be safe and sometimes it seems its just unsafe to confront people that perpetuate an unsafe environment.” The members of the group are all there to support each other before anything else, both in good times and bad.

Some advice that comes from longtime member Bec stresses the importance that the group puts on using each other’s correct pronouns. She says that the safest thing that people can do is avoid using pronouns at all if you don’t know the proper ones. “If you’re not comfortable with using they/them pronouns for a single person, just restructure your sentence and avoid using them at all.” Simply address the person by name.  She says that people won’t be offended if you don’t use pronouns, but they may be if you assume their pronoun.

The GSA is a small club at this time, but anyone is welcome to join or to just sit at the meeting and listen in on the discussion. The members are trying to become more widely recognized and to get the word out about the club through making their own flyers and posters to post around the school, as well as being involved in activities like the Day of Silence coming up on April 21st.  Focused on bringing people together through similarities, rather than separating them by differences, GSA is open to anyone with an open mind.

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