Meet some Wisconsin GSA advisors!

Monica, Sun Prairie High School

Why did you become a GSA advisor?

In my role as a school counselor I see kids struggle with so many issues and so many of them co-exist. One of the biggest struggles I see is coming out to friends and family. Often times, I am one of the first people that students may utter thoughts or ideas about their sexual orientation/identification to. Creating a space where students can be themselves and give back to others by advocating for anti-discrimination practices is an important part of this process. Even if students never set foot in a GSA meeting, I truly believe that it’s sheer existence is comforting to those who might not yet have the courage to admit to themselves or others that they may be LGBTQ.

 

Donna, Fond du Lac High School

What impact do you see the GSA having on your school?

For the LGBTQ students and their allies there is now a safe place to go and enjoy time together.  It’s a place where they can talk openly about their lives and share their stories along with learning from others.  Since last spring we’ve grown from 3 members to 20 members. There is strength in numbers and our students are seeing that they have more support than they realized even among the adults in our building. We struggle at our school with the use of anti-gay slurs but our GSA is working to increase awareness and create change.

 

Jeff and Spencer, Co-Advisors at McFarland High School

What advice would you give to a new GSA advisor?

Jeff: One, listen to the needs of your students.  I had my own idea of what the GSA might do, but I soon realized that didn’t necessarily correspond exactly with the students’ thoughts.  Two, be a networker: I’ve met so many amazing people through my role as GSA adviser.  It’s truly been an educational experience for me.  Three, don’t be afraid of a little controversy. Change seldom comes without friction– it’s important to embrace the conflict.

How has GSAFE been helpful to you in your role?

Spencer: The folks at GSAFE have made it 150% clear that I can go to them with questions, issues, projects that come up.  They never make me feel silly or embarrassed when I don’t know something, and they are always enthusiastic to be a part of our little school community.  They’ve also provided “Safe Space” training for the entire district, which has provided our students with even more support in their schools beyond the GSA bubble.

 

Abby, Madison O’Keeffe Middle School

What is your favorite memory as a GSA advisor?

The Day of Silence at my previous middle school. We had bowls of cut ribbon on a table near the entrance, and a line of students formed to take the ribbons and pin them on. They just kept coming, one after another, taking a ribbon and standing up for LGBTQ rights right there in front of all their friends. Something I will never forget.

 

Jason, Ashwaubenon High School

What do you dream for Wisconsin schools and students?

I dream of a school system in which all students are treated with respect as individuals and every school is provided with the resources they need in order to provide appropriate services to all students. I dream of a day when a GSA, Diversity Club, Multicultural Club, etc. is not “needed” at a school, but wanted or expected as part of a school community that recognizes what equal treatment means in a school setting. I dream of a Wisconsin school system where all students are without distraction due to acceptance or bullying issues and are able to focus on the primary goal of learning.

 

 

Nancy, Platteville High School

What do you dream for Wisconsin schools and students?

That all will be accepted and respected for who they are and that they will feel SAFE!

 

 

To learn more about being a GSA advisor or supporting a GSA in your school, visit our “Creating & Sustaining a Gay-Straight Alliance” page here.

 

 

 

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Testimonials

amy-testimonial“GSAFE’s LTI helped me become the person and activist I wanted to be, and helped me hone my skills so I could be a better leader.  I discovered myself in ways I never imagined.” – Amy, Former GSAFE Youth Activist