Gay-Straight Alliance at Hampton, PA spreads awareness, tolerance

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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January 3, 2013

For two years, Hampton High School student Ally Rosenberger was quiet. But this year, she decided she would not be quiet about her own feelings any longer, and she was going to reach out to other students so they wouldn't have to be quiet either. In November, Ally, 18, a senior, started the Gay-Straight Alliance at her high school. The incident that Ally says marked the beginning occurred when she was a sophomore, and had just moved from Maine. As a class discussion turned to gay marriage, the conversation became a "giant ranting" against gay marriage, taking mean overtones, Ally said. "I sat there and didn't say anything, but really thought the teacher should have directed the conversation toward more open discussion," she said. Ally later wrote the teacher a letter, but felt "dismissed" by the response. "Now that I am a senior, I decided that I would help create a more tolerable atmosphere," she said. Ally went through the process of starting a school club, obtaining signatures, securing a sponsor and getting approval from the school board. "Mr. [Cliff] Stevenson volunteered to be our adviser," she said. "I was so happy that he stepped forward." When the board approved the club by unanimous vote, Ally was happy. She wasn't surprised because she knew if necessary, the Federal Equal Access Act would support her efforts.