Gay-Straight Alliance: Allies to equality

In a society where sexual preference creates a “general image” of a person, two courageous students came together five years ago to approach their teacher about raising awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual students in high school. From this, Gay-Straight Alliance at Northern welcomes all students to join and become allies to equality.

Alaina Taylor, Special to the NL

Five years ago, a pair of brave students approached Ms. Nott in hopes of forming a club supporting gay and lesbian rights. The awareness of the group has increased since then, along with the number of members, which has grown from the original six kids to twenty. “I’m passionate about equality for everyone,” said Nott. “But more importantly, I wanted to [form] the club because the students were passionate about it, and I felt they deserved the support.”
The club meetings are full of social issue discussions, guest speakers, and panels, along with “a lot of eating,” according to Nott. The members watch videos and confer about them, but mostly it’s just “talking and having fun.” Everyone is welcome at the meetings; gay and straight members attend to educate themselves and others, to offer their support to a worthy cause, or simply to hang out with friends.
The main goal of the club is to create a place where everyone can attend and feel completely comfortable and devoid of pressure. “To this day, I don’t know if even the regular [club members] are straight, lesbian, or bi[sexual]. I don’t ask,” stated Nott. Julia Nebiolo (10), started attending the club last year. “I had a few friends who were going, so I decided to go too.” One aspect of the club that stands out to her is the feeling of unity and support the group provides. Despite all the valuable qualities that the club embodies, there will always be skeptics, and those students who are afraid of being judged if they attend the club. “There’s no reason to be scared,” said Nebiolo. “If you’re afraid that your friends won’t like you, they aren’t your friends anyway.” Contrary to popular belief, going to a club meeting doesn’t define a person or give anyone the right to analyze them. “We’re all just people trying to get through the day,” said Nott.
As of late, gay marriage and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual) equal rights has been a topical subject, which makes GSA all the more relevant. The Gay-Straight Alliance is the perfect place to discuss such topics, along with other social issues in today’s society. It is important that the current generation be educated and aware of this, so as to create a world equal to all, so we can live up to the standards that our founding fathers set: that all people are created equal. So, Portage Northern has those two girls and Ms. Nott, who began it all, to thank for giving us the opportunity to increase awareness and break down stereotypes.