Today, equality advocates across the country are celebrating the first National Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Day. A project of the Iowa Pride Network (IPN), the day is meant to "stregnthen the bond between LGBT people and straight allies" and "encourage students to start GSAs and schools and colleges to support them," Ryan Roemerman, IPN Exectuvie Director, said in a statement.
GSAs provide students with a safe placess to discuss ways to make schools healthier environemnts for everyone. GLSEN, IPN's key partner on National GSA Day, has registered more than 4,000 GSAs across the country.
“GSAs regularly demonstrate how students can transform their own school community based upon the principle of respect for difference," said GLSEN Exectuvie Director Eliza Byard. "Even with the documented benefits of having a GSA in school, some school districts have tried to prevent students from establishing these student clubs. Not only does the school send the wrong message to students, but it is also illegal as outlined under the Federal Equal Access Act.”
According to the GLSEN 2009 National School Climate Survey, LGBT students in schools with a GSA:
• heard fewer homophobic remarks than students in schools without GSAs;
• were more likely to report that school personnel intervened when hearing homophobic remarks;
• were less likely to feel unsafe because of their sexual orientation and experienced less victimization related to their sexual orientation and gender expression.
GLAAD among other groups including GSA Network, GLSEN, Campus Pride, Matthew Shepard Foundation, The Trevor Project, Think Progress, PFLAG National and the National Association of GSA Networks. In addition, nearly two dozen states, stretching from Oregon to Georgia are participating. If you are interested in pariticpating, visit gsaday.org for more information.