by Rebecca Marte
GSA stands for Gay Straight Alliance. GSA is a club that is starting to form at many high schools and even a few middle schools. One GSA that stands out is at Orange Glen High School. Orange Glen in the past year has successfully participated in the Day Of Silence, held the very first GSA spirit week and a myriad more accomplishments. The GSA started the 2014-2015 school year with an advisor, two officers, and three members. Tabitha Belshee and Raul Castaneda, the Orange Glen GSA 2014-2015 President and Vice-President respectively, wanted the GSA to flourish this year. The two brought in roughly five friends to help recruit at the school’s “club rush”, each club sets up a table encouraging classmates to join, using glitter tattoos and colourful fliers to entice students.
After looking over the sign-up sheets, Belshee was enthused to discover that nearly 60 students showed interest in the club and was pleased to begin the GSA’s first meeting with 50 members. Although some members had ceased to attend the bi-weekly meetings, the club had a steady turn out of approximately 30 at each meeting. Not only has President Tabitha Belshee accomplished a drastic member growth but she has also inspired said members to take an interest in the LGBTQ+ community outside of school as well. The club logged an outstanding 296 hours of community events. Some members, like Yesenia Rodriguez and Raul Castaneda, were so interested in the macro-LGBTQ+ community that they attended nearly every single event. These events ranged from parades, celebrating the community and its allies, to conferences educating about gender identity, sexual orientation, activism, leadership and history regarding the community. Belshee not only encouraged students to be educated outside of school, but also held weekly meetings specifically designed to educate students about possible gender identities and sexual orientations.
These students then took the knowledge that they gained and spread it to students who were not part of GSA. This cascade of knowledge allowed for the school as a whole to become less ignorant.