What does “GSA” stand for?
Historically, “GSA” stood for a “Gay-Straight Alliance.” However, to expand and include trans folk, bisexuals and other members of the LGBTQAI2+ community, the term “GSA” now often stands for “Genders & Sexualities Alliance.”
Who are GSAs for, and what do they do?
GSAs are clubs for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, asexual, intersex, two-spirit and HIV+ (LGBTQAI2+) students and straight allies. There are over 3,000 GSAs in schools nationwide. GSAs create community, increase awareness and understanding, cultivate leadership skills, encourage diversity, and reduce discrimination and bullying in schools. GSAs act as safe spaces for students to:
- Exchange information and find or offer support
- Socialize, make friends, and hold dances or movie nights
- Discuss challenges and concerns like coming out, homophobia, transphobia and monosexism
- Have dialogues with guest speakers
- Organize events to raise awareness and pride, especially around annual observances like National Coming Out Day, LGBT History Month, National Day of Silence, and local annual pride parades
Can public schools legally prevent GSAs from meeting?
No, as long as the following two conditions are met: (1) The club must be initiated at the request of students, and (2) the school must recognize other “non-curriculum related” student groups and clubs. If the school does not permit non-curriculum student organizations, then they are not required to recognize a GSA group. However, as long as students request a GSA club and the school recognizes other non-curriculum student groups, then they must allow a GSA under the Federal Equal Access Act. Additionally, GSAs must be granted the same privileges that other non-curriculum clubs have, as determined by the school. This may include permission to use bulletin boards, put up posters, reserve a meeting space, use the PA system, and hold events. If you want to start a GSA at your school but are not finding support from teachers or administrators please email Out Youth’s Texas GSA Network coordinator: email@example.com
Download PDF -FAQsAboutGSAs.pdf