World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Gay–straight alliance

Article Id: WHEBN0000458122
Reproduction Date:

Title: Gay–straight alliance  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: LGBT rights in Canada, Josh Hutcherson, S. Bear Bergman, History of youth, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gay–straight alliance

Gay–straight alliance
At least 4000 chapters[1]
The pride flag, news articles, and flyers for social events on this high school bulletin board represent the type of support and advocacy purposes that GSAs serve.

Gay–straight alliances are school/student-led or community based organizations,[2] found primarily in North American high schools, colleges and universities, that are intended to provide a safe, supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth (or those who are perceived as such) and their straight allies.[2]

In some locations, the name of the GSA has been changed from "Gay Straight Alliance" to "Gender and Sexuality Alliance" in order to include bisexual and transgender individuals.


  • Goal 1
  • History in the United States 2
    • Inclusivity 2.1
    • Opposition 2.2
  • History outside the United States 3
    • United Kingdom 3.1
    • Mexico 3.2
    • Canada 3.3
    • Netherlands 3.4
    • New Zealand 3.5
    • Australia 3.6
    • Hong Kong 3.7
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Sources 6
  • External links 7


The goal of most gay–straight alliances is to make their school community safe, facilitate activism on campus, and create a welcoming environment for

  • Gay Straight Alliance
  • Site for Gay-Straight Alliances to register with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
  • GSA Network
  • Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Official Site
  • Canadian GSA Directory
  • Gay/Straight Alliances: A Student Guide
  • Gay-Straight Alliances: A Handbook for Students, Educators, and Parents
  • Queer Youth Alliance website (UK)
  • "Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School," 2005 documentary film profiling a student's attempt to start a GSA at her Jewish High School
  • "Gay issues club pits pupils against principal. January 22, 2007. A newspaper article on the predicament faced by RHHS GSA
  • , instructional video for youth on how to start a GSA at their high school.Can LBGTQ + School = Safe?
  • , Documentary. Beyondmedia Education partners with a 17-year-old latina student who tries to start a GSA at her public high school.Fish Almost Eaten By a Shark

External links

  • Denina, Chris. "Gay Club Loses Touro OK." Vallejo Times-Herald 9 Sept. 2006: A1 [1]
  • Buchanan, Wyatt. "Gay rights group's charter is revoked." San Francisco Chronicle 12 Sept 2006: B5. [2]
  • American Medical Student Association. 11 Sept. 2006: "Medical Students at TU to protest Abolition of Gay-Straight Alliance Group" [3]
  • Gay Lesbian Medical Association. 09 Sept. 2006: "GLMA Decries Decision by Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine to Ban Gay Straight Alliance Student Group." [4]
  • Denina, Chris. "Touro's provost says gay group wasn't dropped." Vallejo Times-Herald 12 Sept 2006: A1. [5]
  • Buchanan, Wyatt. "Gay rights group not banned, school says." San Francisco Chronicle. 13 Sept 2006: B4. [6]
  • Press release GSA Netherlands. [7]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c d GLBTQ 2004.
  3. ^ No Name Calling Week
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c d
  8. ^ Jennings, Kevin: Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son: A Memoir, page 196. Beacon Press, 2006.
  9. ^ (81 F. Supp.2d 1166, 1197 (D. Utah 1999))
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Colin ex rel. Colin v. Orange Unified School District, 83 F. Supp. 2d 1135 (C.D. Cal. 2000).
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ a b
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^


See also

In 2008, students at The University of Hong Kong founded Queer Straight Alliance (QSA), a registered society under Hong Kong laws.[34] For several years it was the only GSA in the city, and it serves students in all campuses through social activities, career support and advocacy. In more recent years, university students in the city have formed other student LGBT groups. However, GSA efforts in secondary schools remain limited, if any.

Hong Kong

[33] Started by [32] In Australia, the group Safe Schools Coalition Victoria piloted a system of reducing homophobia though teacher training and student groups that promote inclusion of LGBT young people.


Nelson College,[24] the Nelson College for Girls,[25] Nayland College[26][27][28] and other schools have had GSAs set up, often with the support of youth mental health bodies.[29][30][31] Kira Byrne, a GSA leader at Nelson College for Girls, says that the legalization of Same-sex marriage in New Zealand in 2013 created shifts in attitudes towards LGBT people in New Zealand, but that boys at Nelson college were afraid to go to the GSA there because "other boys would wait outside to beat up anyone that came out."[25]

New Zealand

The first GSAs in the Netherlands were started in 2009. At the beginning of 2011, a nationwide campaign was started on television to promote GSAs in Dutch schools, featuring several well-known young actors and singers. A number of GSAs already exist in a wide variety of Dutch schools throughout the country, most of them at the university level, but increasingly popular on secondary school level.


In May 2010 Egale Canada launched, a website focused on GSAs and their role in making Canadian schools safer and more LGBTQ inclusive.[21] As part of's mission the site maintains an online directory of Canadian GSAs and provided resources and information to students who wish to start a GSA in their school and for teachers who wish to support them.[22] In December 2011, the government of the most populous Canadian province, Ontario, announced it would bring a legislation making it mandatory for all publicly funded schools to support the formation of "tolerance clubs" and student associations. Gay-Straight clubs were to be specifically mentioned in that act. The main focus of that legislation would be to counterattack bullying of students, particularly those of a racial or sexual minority.[23]

In Ontario, Arnprior District High school, a small rural Ottawa Valley town started a GSA created by the students in 2009. This GSA won one of three Jer's Vision "Youth Role Model of The Year" awards in April 2009.[19] The next year a GSA was founded by students in 2010 at Renfrew Collegiate Institute in the town of Renfrew.[20]

Parkside high school (Dundas, Ontario) held the first Gay-Straight-Alliance assembly in Canada, in 2011.

In Saskatchewan, Carlton Comprehensive High School houses one of the first GSA movements in the city of Prince Albert. The first GSA in the city of Saskatoon first met on March 18, 2003 at Mount Royal Collegiate.[18] Since then, GSAs have been established at Nutana, Walter Murray, Evan Hardy, Marion Graham, Bedford Road and Aden Bowman Collegiates. The city of North Battleford Saskatchewan, had their first GSA in 2004 at Sakewew high school, a First Nations school.

The first GSA in Canada was started at Pinetree Secondary School in Coquitlam, British Columbia in 1998. The start of the Pinetree GSA garnered national media attention, and its members continued to play a role in public affairs by meeting with successive provincial Ministers of Education, testifying before the B.C. Safe Schools Task Force on anti-bullying, and delivering workshops to students and educators about LGBT-sensitive inclusive language and how to start GSAs. In early 2002, the Pinetree GSA held the first Pride Day at a high school in Canada. The Pride Day included an information fair with booths from various local LGBT organizations, PrideTalk workshops delivered in numerous classes, and an assembly with a talk on transgender rights and a performance by G.L.A.S.S., a local LGBT youth choir.

Beyond a school group the Toronto District School Board has been committed to an unwritten alliance with their students, funding the Triangle Program at OASIS Alternative School, designed for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students who are at risk of dropping out or committing self-harm because of harassment in regular schools.


The first GSA in Mexico was begun by a group of students in 2004 at the American School Foundation, a private American school in Mexico City. The GSA was initially opposed by several school board members and a small group of religious conservative parents. But the students eventually won and formed the student club. The GSA's co-advisor, Ian K. Macgillivray, wrote several articles detailing his students' experiences, as well as the book, Gay-Straight Alliances: A Handbook for Students, Educators, and Parents (2007, Harrington Park Press).[16][17]


Worldwide, gay-straight alliances are not as popular as they are in the United States but are beginning to take-off slowly. In the UK, there has always been more of an emphasis on stand alone lesbian and gay youth groups that take place outside of the school setting, often funded by the local health authority or education service. The first GSA in the UK was founded in 2000 by CN Lester at Putney High School GDST, and led in part to the formation of Queer Youth Network. The second GSA in the UK was started in 2010 at Shimna Integrated College in Northern Ireland. Another GSA started in 2012 by Copland Community school in Wembley.[14] The setting up of the club has subsequently resulted in the school being known for "tackling homophobic prejudice".[14] Acland Burghley school in Camden set up a gay–straight alliance in 2012 called Connected.[15]

United Kingdom

History outside the United States

However, on their website, GSA Network state that:

Students at West Carteret High School in Morehead City, North Carolina tried to start a GSA but the Carteret County Board of Education turned it down. In 1999, the Orange Unified School District in Orange County, California voted unanimously to prohibit the formation of a GSA at El Modena High School. The students sued the school board, claiming that their rights under the First Amendment and the 1984 Equal Access Act had been violated. In the first-ever ruling of its kind, Judge David O. Carter of the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued a preliminary injunction ordering the school to allow the GSA to meet.[13]

In 2015, students at Brandon High School in Rankin County, Mississippi, attempted to start a GSA, but the school board met and publicly stated they wanted to prevent the formation of "gay clubs" in the school district. They then created a policy requiring parents to provide written permission before a student can join any club. Students then protested with support from the ACLU.[12]

Some students face opposition from school administrations, elected school boards, or local communities in starting a school GSA.


Approximately 28% of participants at GSA Network identify as heterosexual.[7]


On January 24, 2012, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, released a video on YouTube commemorating GSA Day and endorsing GSA clubs in schools.[11]

One of the first GSAs was started in 1988, in Concord, Massachusetts at Concord Academy by Kevin Jennings, the founder and head of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network GLSEN. The first public school gay–straight alliance was started at Newton South High School (Newton Centre, Massachusetts) by teacher Robert Parlin.[8] GSAs made headlines in 1999 with the Federal Court ruling in Utah–East High Gay/Straight Alliance v. Board of Education of Salt Lake City School District.[9][10] This ruling found that denying access to a school-based Gay-Straight Alliance was a violation of the Federal Equal Access Act giving students the right to use facilities for extra curricular activities at any school that receives public funding - regardless of private standing or religious affiliation.

Described as "perhaps the most important precursor of the GSA movement," Los Angeles' Project 10 is seen as the start of the GSA movement, as Project 10 was widely recognised as the first organised effort to provide support for LGBTQ youth in schools across the United States. The majority of its facilitators were heterosexual, and was named after the commonly-held statistic that 10% of the adult male population is "exclusively homosexual". Project 10 focused on issues such as drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and discussing issues of high-risk sexual behavior.[2]

History in the United States

The inclusion of heterosexual "straight allies" in the missions of these groups "is an important distinguishing factor from early support groups for glbtq teens, and recognizes the need for a comprehensive approach to youth safety," and attempts to build a network of support for non-heterosexual and transgender teens, as well as raising awareness of homophobia and heterosexism.[2]

. GSA Networks have been formed to help local area students to network and connect to local resources, provide training for youth leaders, and sponsor local GSA efforts. National Association of GSA Networks Over half the states in the United States have one or more statewide groups that work with GSAs. Many of these state based groups and local chapters of GLSEN participate in the [7] representing over half of California's high schools.[7],GSA Network In California, there are over 900 GSAs registered with [1]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.