A lot was different fifteen years ago. LGBTQ issues were not at the forefront of conversations. GSAs in schools were rare. Even the name was less inclusive: if you were a member, it meant that you were either gay or a straight ally. There was little, if any, discussion of the gender spectrum. LFHS didn’t have a GSA. But we knew students who needed a safe place where they could be themselves.
We researched what other schools were doing, and we found that there was a network of schools called GLSEN that provided resources and ideas for creating GSAs in high schools. We teamed up with Mr. Maher, and together we worked to communicate the need for a GSA to the administration. It was an uphill battle. Our posters advertising the first meeting were immediately ripped down, and it wasn’t always easy to convince people that this was a necessary next step in creating an inclusive school. But we had a lot of dedicated students and their allies who persistently worked to make the GSA a positive and accepting experience.
This Monday, we walked into school and saw the Commons covered in Ally signs. When we see the incredible work that Mr. Wanninger and Alliance are doing, it makes us so proud of how LFHS has embraced the understanding that every student deserves a school where they can be themselves. Fifteen years seems like a long time ago.