New York, NY
– The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, is proud to announce the 2,000th student club, often called a Gay-Straight Alliance or GSA, to register with the organization. The milestone came with the formation of a GSA at Detroit Central High School in Detroit, Michigan.
“It is with immense pride that GLSEN celebrates 2,000 GSAs,” said GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings. “The young people involved in these student clubs are providing an invaluable service and support system for their peers while changing the climate of their schools and communities from one where discrimination and harassment are the rule to environments where everyone learns to respect and accept all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity / expression.”
According to GLSEN’s 2003 National School Climate Survey, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in schools with GSAs were more likely to report feeling safe in school than students whose schools do not have a GSA. The number of GSAs that have registered with GLSEN’s student organizing program has increased by 50% in the last year.
Detroit Central High School’s GSA was started this year by Lee Payne, a senior at the school. After seeing many of his LGBT peers harassed, Payne was inspired to start the club and enlisted the help of his journalism class and teacher. The club now has fifteen members.
“I am truly honored to have our school’s club nationally recognized as GLSEN’s 2,000th GSA,” said Payne. “GLSEN has been very supportive of our efforts and has provided the club with invaluable resources to make our GSA extremely successful.”
Gay-Straight Alliances are student-led and student-organized school clubs that aim to create a safe, welcoming and accepting school environment for all youth, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Although 2,000 GSAs have registered with GLSEN, this figure represents a baseline for the actual total of such student clubs in existence. GLSEN estimates that up to 1 in 10 of our nation’s high schools have a GSA. GLSEN’s student organizing department provides a guide called “The GLSEN Jump-Start,” which aids students in establishing and running GSAs at their own schools. This and many other resources are available free to students at www.glsen.org.
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.