School pride club officially reforms, rebrands as Gender and Sexualities Alliance

Striving to make a safe, social environment for LGBTQ+ students


Introducing herself to new members, GSA President Maya Pantic presents information about the club before starting ice breaker activities. Board members planned to focus on creating strong bonds with other members of the club. “The GSA club just offers a kind of atmosphere where we can all talk to each other,” secretary Daphne Huang said. “I know in a lot of other clubs, it’s difficult to communicate between the board and the members, so we want to get rid of that boundary. We just so happen to have a mic, but we want everyone to talk with us.” (Photo Credit: Alexa Rondez)

Shayna Migalang, Staff Writer

After several failed attempts of maintaining LGBTQ+ pride clubs on campus in the past, the Genders and Sexualities Alliance has plans to last.

President Maya Pantic first discovered the Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network, a nationally recognized organization, through social worker Tequila Hall last school year. 

“I thought, ‘Why doesn’t our school have that?’ when [Ms. Hall] mentioned GSA,” Pantic said. “I didn’t realize such a thing existed back then. I know a lot of people who don’t really have safe spaces to simply exist, so I thought this would be a wonderful thing to do to give people a place to feel comfortable. It took a while for the idea [of the club] to get off the ground though, as according to the rest of the board, I’m the type of person to continuously research something.”

Gaining immediate support from Social Studies teacher Jessica Kelly and Communications teacher Henry Evans after Pantic asked them to become the club’s advisers, the GSA officially held its first meeting on September 14 after months of preparation. 

“I had Mrs. Kelly for two years and she’s an amazing person, so I decided she would be great to go to since I didn’t know Mr. Evans at the time,” Pantic said. “I wrote two entire paragraphs worth in an email describing why I wanted to do the club, hoping to convince her. Eventually, Mr. Evans caught wind of it, and became the co-adviser of the club. Because we [the board] love Mr. Evans and Mrs. Kelly, we were like, ‘Okay, this is perfect.’” 

The creation of the club did not come without difficulties, however, as multiple club officers were extremely uncertain at first to join, not wanting to risk becoming a target to people with anti-LGBTQ+ beliefs. 

“The issue is that a lot of us are in [a] place to get outed,” secretary Daphne Huang said. “And so the fear is like, ‘Oh, what’s going to happen to some of us?’ if we get ourselves out there like that. There’s a lot of hesitation to even be here. As much as we’d like to spread this community, we would also like to survive.”

With 22 students attending the first meeting, sophomore Ava Tatum hopes that GSA will be a better experience than past pride clubs she’s participated in. 

“There was a pride club in fifth grade,” Tatum said. “That was definitely less accepting because you know, we were all fifth graders. There were people who would come in and say very disrespectful stuff. So I’m hoping that this club is more of a social environment where I can just be myself around my peers, and I hope that other people can be where they feel welcome enough to want to express themselves too.” 

Members of the club’s board have started brainstorming ideas for various projects they want to do throughout the year, with their first plan being creating identification pins. 

“Identification pins, especially ones indicating pronouns usually help normalize talking and asking about pronouns so no one has to assume how you identify,” vice president Hannah Segura said. “The same goes for other identification pins, like sexual orientation pins, and when normalizing something like that, it usually creates an overall more inclusive and safe space by making each other feel seen and respected.”

As they acknowledge the fact that pride clubs in the past have faded out after a short period of time, the board members are prepared to advertise the club as much as they can.

“As far as we’ve all discussed, there will be a little bit of everything,” Pantic said. “We got some fliers going courtesy of Mr. Evans, the Instagram for the club is already up and running, so we just have to use it in an engaging way, and we’re figuring out events very soon. The club is still quite new, and there are certain procedures to go through to get events in for clubs like GSA.”

GSA meetings will be held every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. 

“I won’t be forcing people to stay as that’s not at all the point of GSA,” Pantic said. “Even if it’s just a few people and the board left, that’s enough. If that means people found spaces elsewhere or felt that they needed something else, that’s fine. We can promote the club, we can tell people about it, but we can’t force them into a place they don’t want to be in anymore. It contradicts what we stand for.”