GSA celebrates Ally Week

At+their+after+school+meeting%2C+the+GSA+decorates+the+stairs+in+a+rainbow+outside+the+senior+entrance+in+order+to+celebrate+Ally+Week.+The+gesture+is+meant+to+bring+awareness+and+to+thank+those+who+support+the+LGBT%2B+Community.
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GSA celebrates Ally Week

At their after school meeting, the GSA decorates the stairs in a rainbow outside the senior entrance in order to celebrate Ally Week. The gesture is meant to bring awareness and to thank those who support the LGBT+ Community.

At their after school meeting, the GSA decorates the stairs in a rainbow outside the senior entrance in order to celebrate Ally Week. The gesture is meant to bring awareness and to thank those who support the LGBT+ Community.

At their after school meeting, the GSA decorates the stairs in a rainbow outside the senior entrance in order to celebrate Ally Week. The gesture is meant to bring awareness and to thank those who support the LGBT+ Community.

At their after school meeting, the GSA decorates the stairs in a rainbow outside the senior entrance in order to celebrate Ally Week. The gesture is meant to bring awareness and to thank those who support the LGBT+ Community.

Brianne Saab, secretary

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Rainbow flags wave as a few eager students sit behind a round table during their lunch periods. The table has an array of colorful markers and a stack of pamphlets explaining how to be an effective ally to the LGBT+ community.

The Gay-Straight Alliance set up the table to celebrate Ally Week, a week that “is a national dialogue about how everyone — in and out of school — can work to become better allies to LGBT youth,” according to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. They have cards for people to sign, proclaiming their allyship with the LGBT+ community, regardless of whether signers are LGBT themselves. They also provide more information on how to be a helpful ally.

Along with being creating a supportive and safe space, it also serves as a celebration of those who stand in unity with the LGBT+ community.

“[Allies are] important because about 10 percent of the population is gay, so we need a lot more than just our members,” Cade Ryan, junior and GSA leader, said. “Being part of society means having people who support us rather than being completely separated.”

That support can mean the world to LGBT+ community members, no matter what age.

“I had friends who were gay back in college, thirty years ago, and at the time, being gay was very much looked down on and it meant a lot to our friends when all of us who weren’t gay stood behind them,” Margaret Koy, GSA Sponsor and math teacher, said. “I love my friends and I support my friends. That’s just how it is.”

Ally Week is a week explicitly for this kind of support, letting people stand up and say they are with the community.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Koy said. “Ally week is important for the community to know that people are behind them and for allies to stand up for the people that they love.”

Students also feel that Ally Week is a positive idea, especially for the school.

“I’m really grateful that our school allows us to have it,” Ryan said. “It gets us out of the stigma that you have to be gay to be involved in or interested in the GSA. It shows anyone can be an ally to the LGBT+ community.”

Ryan has been working the GSA table during sixth period since Monday. Alongside him was Jack McGahan, freshman, who is also excited about what the week means.

“I feel great about it,” McGahan said. “It’s a way for people to connect and show their support. Straight people and gay people are mingling and it’s not just gay people who are talking and showing support.”

Though many students are showing support, traffic to the table is somewhat low.

“It’s been kind of slow, but we’ve gotten a lot of signatures,” McGahan said. “It makes me really happy.”

Other people working the table have similar experiences.

“I’m feeling pretty good about it,” Macy Vander Pas, GSA leader and sophomore, said. “It’s always rough when people aren’t coming to the table because you want everyone to come to the table and sign off [saying], ‘Hey I’m an ally.’ But it’s nice to know that there are those people in our school community.”

Vander Pas is optimistic, however, when it comes to turn out for the rest of the week.

“Throughout the week, people tend to show up more and want to show their support more,” she said.

The table will be in the lunchroom until the end of the week. Brett Steines, sophomore, encourages everyone to participate.

“I think it’s pretty awesome,” Steines said. “It gives everyone a chance for people to accept us for who we are. It’s not just people in the LGBT community, it’s everyone. In a world so full of hate, we need to just learn to love each other. People who aren’t necessarily in the community show that they respect us and they show love towards us. It’s a big happy family.”