Now, with more and more people becoming comfortable with their sexuality, and with the rise to create safe places for those to go that aren’t quite sure yet, the need for gay-straight alliances arises. Some people aren’t sure how to go about starting one, but in reality it’s simple. Below, I will provide you with five pretty basic ideas to start with. After you accomplish those five, you’ll find the rest will come naturally!
Find an Advisor. Talk to your teachers. Listen to what they say in class. You should recognize someone that is comfortable with the cause and completely willing to help you begin. For the most part, you can’t have a club without an advisor. They will also help aid you in your quest for things you need and want to help your GSA prosper.
Talk to administration. You’ll want them to know early on exactly what you’re doing. Having a strong backing administration team will also help you in the long run. They can stop any problems before they rise, or put a stop to problems that do.
Advertise! Post flyers all around campus. Offer cute samples with your club name advertised on them stating your meeting place, time and meeting dates. I’ve seen suckers passed out with small cards around them in rainbow colors to advertise for a GSA. It grabbed people’s attention and brought a great turn out for a first meeting. Make sure all flyers are approved by your SGA before they go up because this can cause them to be taken down. Choose catchy titles and graphics to grab people’s attention. Including a email address that emails can be sent to can create anonymity and make people feel more comfortable. Don’t use your personal email address. Create a club centered email. Advertise free food, or free things for coming to meetings, especially the first one. You’ll get attention and people will show up and hopefully enjoy your message. Getting an article on your club in the newspaper is another valuable way to advertise.
Talk to the school counselor. Let them know you’re forming a group; they can assist students that may be interested in coming. Having your counselor on board will help your group immensely because they can refer students to your group that feel like they need someplace to go and talk to others of a like mind. They may also be inclined to send you learning materials that will benefit your club. The school nurse can also provide learning materials on matters such as same sex relationships, and safe sex for same sex couples.
Create a comfortable atmosphere. Remembering that not everyone is comfortable with their sexuality yet, you’ll need to create a safe haven for those people. Holding meets in private areas, off high traffic areas on your campus can help create the privacy that many want. Listen to all members and respond to their needs effectively. Let everyone know that you can be reached if anyone ever wants to talk about anything at all, and let them know that you want your group to be a comfortable atmosphere to all involved. Confidentiality is important here, as you want members to be able to express their concerns or fears in a private manner so not everyone hears about it the next day. This will create a divide with you and your members and you’ll find that those members won’t come back, and often, they take friends with them.
As you can see, creating and maintaining a GSA isn’t too hard, but the work involved in actually starting one can be. There definitely will be a lot of work, there will be a lot of papers to sign, but in the end, you’ll have created a safe atmosphere where anyone can feel welcomed.