GSA branching out

On Monday, November 16th, the Gay Straight Alliance held one of its first meetings of the school year. The central purpose of the GSA is to make sure that RB is a safe and supportive school for all students, no matter what their sexual orientation might be.

Students who have openly revealed themselves to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) are often met with an increasingly hostile school environment where they must face daily discrimination, bullying, and harassment. As a result of this treatment, such students can experience lower grades and even go so far as to skip school simply to avoid abuse from their peers.

GSA works against this injustice by serving as an outlet for both gay and straight students to promote tolerance.

“The GSA is an important club because it expresses who we are as members of the LGBT community and its allies,” said sophomore Trevor Zaremba, “It helps students who tolerate the LGBT community become allies and help the world become accepting to the LGBT community.”

Zaremba has stepped up to the plate this year and proved to be an instrumental source of leadership for the GSA.

“I decided to take charge of the GSA this year because first of all I am a part of the LGBT community,” said Zaremba, “I am proud to be homosexual and people should be proud of who they are.”

Margaret Leiteritz, GSA sponsor, feels that another major benefit of the organization is that it allows students to know that they are not alone.

“LGBT students are typically subjected to a lot of bullying and harassment,” said Leiteritz, “GSA provides students a means of discussing these issues in a discrimination-free environment.”

The GSA is currently planning to create stickers which teachers will be able to place in their classroom windows to show that they support a learning environment free from discrimination. Members of the GSA are also designing their own club t-shirts which feature the phrase “proud to be me” in rainbow letters.

While alliance members continue to plan ahead on how to eliminate prejudice against homosexuality, positive changes the club has helped create are already apparent.

“The fact that [participation] rose from 5-7 students to a large 23-25 students is amazing,” said Zaremba, “We’ve only had two official meetings so far and we already tripled! This means that we are becoming heard throughout RB. Its amazing to see how many students want to aid the LGBT community.”

Zaremba has high hopes for there being 40-50 active GSA members by the end of the school year.

“I hope to have the student body and the community hear what we have to say and I hope they learn to tolerate us.”

The experience of an anonymous Gay student at RBHS

“At RB we have some students that tolerate the LGBT student body and we have others that don’t. Personally I’ve experienced bad times at RB. Sometimes at lunch a group of boys that sits across from me and my friends throw their food at us. They usually say rude comments and give us dirty looks. I reported this matter to the teachers and they dealt with it, but it didn’t stop. The boys found ways to harass me outside of school. On Halloween I was trick-or-treating with my boyfriend and they called us ‘fags’ and threw candy at us. But there is some good at RB. Around the time of the Day of Silence the GSA sees a large group of students who tolerate the LGBT student body and help keep the day recognized by staying silent with us.” -name witheld by request