Gay-Straight Alliance Club hosts ‘Ally Week’ Sept. 23-27

The Gay-Straight Alliance club hosts Ally Week Sept. 23-27. They will hold an Eagle Time meeting Wednesday, Sept. 25, to introduce the club to those interested in joining.

Morgan Begley

The Gay-Straight Alliance club hosts Ally Week Sept. 23-27. They will hold an Eagle Time meeting Wednesday, Sept. 25, to introduce the club to those interested in joining. "If you are not totally a part of the LGBT community, but you want to support, you are totally welcome in GSA," junior and GSA Advocacy Chair Whitney Ballard said. "You don't have to know what they are going through, you can just be there for them."

Maddie Moats, Reporter

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Group plans to focus
on advocacy, service, outreach

The Gay-Straight Alliance Club will sponsor “Ally Week” Sept. 23-27, along with an Eagle Time meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 25 in Seth Phillips’ room, No. 2040, for anyone interested in learning more about GSA.

As the GSA Club sets up for their new 2019-2020 chapter, members said they are looking to welcome more students of all backgrounds to develop the club as a social community within the school, as well as an advocacy group for local LGBTQ+ issues.

“In the past, GSA has been more of a social thing for LGBT+ students to get together and meet each other, and it’s a safe space,” junior and GSA Advocacy Chair Whitney Ballard said. “This year we want to keep that but also focus on advocacy, service and reaching out.”

The GSA Club meets every Tuesday after school from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Phillips’ room, but members said those who attend are welcome to stay as long or as short as they need. Everyone is welcome to the meetings.

“If you know someone who is interested in going, it’s always easier to go with a friend, or to ask a friend to go with you,” senior and GSA Social Chair Aubrey Easley said. “The club is an extremely welcoming place, and there should be no instances where you feel like an outlier. It should feel like all these people understand more of who you are as a person for you to make friends.”

For Ally Week, GSA is participating in several themed days. Monday, there will be a bake sale; Tuesday will serve as a voter registration day; Wednesday, there will be an Eagle Time “Ally Training” and Thursday, the club will have a booth set up.

The club is an extremely welcoming place, and there should be no instances where you feel like an outlier.”

— Aubrey Easley

“Wednesday, we are having an eagle time for people that don’t really know what GSA is but want to support,” Ballard said. “And you don’t have to be LGBT to come. We are having an ‘ally training’ where we are going to introduce what GSA is and how you can be an ally to people that are LGBT.”

This year, GSA is stressing the importance of allies within the club and the LGBTQ+ community itself, specifically for their role of understanding and helping with the issues the gay community faces.

“It’s always comforting to know that you have people behind your back who represent a majority,” Easley said. “So that you feel safer within your surroundings.”

Having been a member of GSA for three years prior, Easley recalls her experience in the club as being eye-opening.

“It always feels like since Prosper is so big that the amount of people who you can identify with is really small, and like you typically only know your close friend group of people,” Easley said. “But you go to the club, and once it starts really kicking off, there are tons of people there to make new friends and connections with.”

Since last year, teacher Seth Phillips has been the advisor of the GSA club.

“Last year was a year to organize and kind of establish it as an official club,” Phillips said. “This year I think the officer team has really set some specific targets for programming that they want to offer throughout the year, and this next week will be the first of those.”

Along with the club serving as a supportive and encouraging space for the school’s LGBTQ+ community, GSA club members say they are aware of the need for respect of privacy in certain circumstances.

“Some people’s parents aren’t the most supporting or their organizations aren’t supportive of LGBT issues,” Ballard said. “So we want to be sure to create a safe and private space for those dealing with that.”

Above all, the GSA club members said they strive to reduce the stigma pinning the LGBTQ+ community as ‘different,’ tackling this challenge with their dedication to the openness of their club to members of any gender or sexuality.

“GSA stands for gay-straight alliance, but it’s almost that people forget the word straight is in there,” Ballard said. “If you are not totally a part of the LGBT community, but you want to support, you are totally welcome in GSA. You don’t have to know what they are going through, you can just be there for them.”