Embracing Students’ Identities: Clifton High’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance Club
Each year throughout several countries, including the U.S., the month of June is officially LGBTQ+ Pride Month. The entire month is dedicated to the celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other sexual and gender identity pride, recognizing and respecting not only the millions of people who are part of the community but those who came before them as well. The concept of Pride Month emerged with the revolutionary 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City, eventually becoming an official month in 2000 by President Ronald Regan. While Clifton High School as a whole honors Pride Month each year, within the school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance Club, LGBTQ+ pride is celebrated year-round.
Established in 2007, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), previously known as the Gay and Straight Alliance, has maintained its standing as a haven for students for over a decade. Originally created by a gay teacher who felt as though they would have benefitted from a similar club in their own high school days, the GSA is open to all students, whether they be gay, straight, unlabelled, or “completely confused,” as advisor Ms. Windt commented. She described the club as a “safe space for our most marginalized students to come in and…be themselves completely and fully.” She said that individuals can gather there and be accepted, removed from the potential pressures and discrimination that face them outside of the classroom.
“I want this club to be a physical safe space, a mental safe space, and an emotional safe space,” said Windt, “Unfortunately not everyone in the community is as understanding and accepting as we hope they could be but I really want at least one place where kids will know they have an adult in the building who will accept them and loves them for who they are.” She stated that not only does the club provide an environment in which students are ensured at least one trusted staff member, but where they can rely on other members to be a “safe person” as well, regardless if they are friends or not. The students all look out for one another.
To her, the most rewarding aspect of being a part of the GSA is the kids, watching them grow and thrive, “seeing how much they enjoy it,” and getting to “experience ups with them and help them through their lows.” She offered that anyone interested, or even just curious, should check out the club. “We would really love to have you because it's a place for everyone…anyone can come in, be loved by us, and be our friend.”
The Gender and Sexuality Alliance at Clifton High School has always been and will continue to be an outlet for students to express themselves, maintaining a place for pupils that fosters socialization, growth, education, and most importantly, pride. The GSA club reinforces that at Clifton High, there will always be a safe space for students whether that be through clubs, sports, teachers, counselors, or even the library; one just has to look for it.
For more information regarding the Gender Sexuality Alliance club, you can email the advisor here:
Kaityln Windt: firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Pride Month, Clifton!