GSA working to change attitudes
November 28, 2018 By:MHS Piper
By Lauren Murphy
As the co-president of the Gay-Straight Alliance, Michael Hitchcock is an agent for change.
“We want to change people’s perspectives,” Hitchcock said. “It’s a personal part of people’s identity,” he said.
This year the club has been reinstated and is now lead by two co-presidents and a community member.
Part of the club’s main objective is to encourage faculty to call out the use of slurs and make the hallways a place where students can feel safe. The use of slurs has taken away students sense of confidence as they walk the halls. While it may not seem like a big deal, hearing a slur, or being misgendered can do a lot of damage to students.
The club is making posters to hang in the hallway. These posters are supposed to inspire confidence in students, an active presence is a way enlist others to help make McNary an inclusive place for students.
“Despite the name being ‘Gay-Straight,’ it’s an inclusive club for everyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation,” said Jordan Danner, a sophomore at McNary and a member of GSA.
Laura Gillespie, the other co-president, said, “The main goal of GSA is to aid LGBTQ+ youth at McNary High School. This year, specifically, we want to stop to the best of our ability the presence of slurs towards LGBTQ+ students and conduct of misgendering.”
Last year there was a GSA that died out. As a result students have been questioning whether it was a safe place to come.
This year KeizerTimes journalist and adviser for the McNary Write Club, Eric Howald, decided to step in and take the reins of the club.
“I want the world to be a more inclusive place,” Howald said. “I’ve had at least one transgender kid and a handfull of gay, lesbian or bi-sexual kids in write club every year since it started.” He wanted to create a safe place where students could come to talk specifically about issues that arise because of their orientation.
“They weren’t coping as well as I wanted them to cope,” he said. Howald doesn’t think of GSA as starting a new club, but rather creating a community.
Howald said that there is a lot of crossover between the two clubs.
“Anyone within the LGBTQ+ community and anyone who is an ally can come,” Howald said.
“Literally everyone,” Gillespie also said.
There’s not a typical meeting for GSA: every week it varies from topic to topic and what they decide to focus on.
“We can’t be serious all the time,” Howald said. Some meetings members just sit and play games.
According United States and Canadian Government having a GSA reduces the risk of suicide by 50 percent.
There is also a 45 percent to 62 percent reduce binge drinking in teens and young adults.