GSA Meetings form safe space for students


Jumana Alsaadoon

At the most recent meeting, HCPS superintendent Michael Richards talks with GSA members.

Riley Thompson, Print Editor in Chief

The Gay-Straight Alliance Club (GSA) had their first three meetings of the year over the past few months. Senior Mary El Vaughan, junior Shy Davis and sophomore Oliver Hoover-Mitchum attended the meetings and all benefited from being in a safe, supportive environment. Although Davis only attends as an ally, she has made many new friends that she wouldn’t have otherwise through the club. 

Although I am not in the community myself I am an ally of the people in it. GSA is a group to express and explore the LGBT+ community and [who] they are as people,” Davis said. “As I started going I experienced a different type of friendship with the people in GSA. I also like how the group is [run] by two teachers that [are very] supportive.”

Vaughan wanted to join the club in order to meet new people and find a community she could relate with. 

“I joined because I know a lot of queer students and I [myself]am queer. I wanted to meet other people who I could hang out with and I wanted to just be part of the alliance,” Vaughan said.

As well as making new friends, Hoover-Mitchum appreciates being in a welcoming environment and being able to be supportive of others.

“For me, GSA is important because I personally am a part of the LGBT community and I like to have a safe place. GSA is one of the safest places for me because there [are] other people like me that are there and there [are] people that support us that are there. It’s just a welcoming community,” Hoover-Mitchum said. 

Vaughan also benefits from the supportive environment as well as learning new things with a variety of different people.

“I think its really important to have a safe space for both queer and straight students,” Vaughan said. “It gives a lot of educational opportunities that are not necessarily covered in standard curriculum. It also provides a fun space to meet people who will accept you for who you are.”

Being so open with each other in club meetings, provides a place for deeper friendships and learning about one another. 

“A big part of it is playing games, meeting each other and  supporting each other. I think a lot of the people there are familiar faces that I have seen around, but it’s a space where you can sit down and say we are all here to be friends and that encourages friendships and deeper friendships than just seeing each other across a class might encourage,” Vaughan said. 

Feeling like she belongs and having other people that she shares some of the same things with has been one of the best things for Vaughan.

“It is very validating, that’s a part of why it’s good to have the GSA. It is a group that we can be out with and all of us there, whether you are straight or not, you have a space where it is safe to be who you are, that’s another important part of having it,” Vaughan said.

Vaughan encourages everyone who wants to come to a club, to come and build the community.

“Absolutely [if you’re reluctant to come to a meeting, you should come to one]. It’s not scary at all and everyones super welcoming and accepting and we play a lot of really fun games,” Vaughan said.