Cynthia Germanotta to Present GLSEN GSA of the Year

NEW YORK (March 22, 2012) – The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) today announced a call for nominations for the inaugural GSA of the Year Award to be presented at the ninth annual Respect Awards - New York on May 21, 2012 by Born This Way Foundation President and Co-founder Cynthia Germanotta. More than 4,000 GSAs, commonly called Gay-Straight Alliances, are registered with GLSEN.

"Gay-Straight Alliances have helped make schools safer and more affirming for all students and provided leadership opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth for more than 20 years," said GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. "We are honored to highlight the work of one of the thousands of GSAs that are improving school climate at their schools. Cynthia Germanotta, whose work with the Born This Way Foundation is inspiring youth across the country, is the perfect person to help us select and present GLSEN's GSA of the Year award at our Respect Awards - New York."

"I am incredibly excited to work with GLSEN to present this special award to a group of student leaders who are making a real difference in their school," Germanotta said. "GSAs are a shining example of students working together to accomplish the Born This Way Foundation's goal of creating a more accepting society where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated."

The inaugural GSA of the Year award will honor a student club in middle or high school that has demonstrated extraordinary leadership to ensure that all students in their school community feel safe and treated with respect regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. The nomination period closes April 4th at midnight. To submit an online nomination for a GSA to receive this prestigious honor, please click here.

GSAs are student-led clubs that help to ensure middle and high schools offer a safe and affirming environment for all students. GLSEN has supported and provided resources to GSAs for more than 20 years.

According to a GLSEN research brief on GSAs, GSAs have shown tremendous value in providing safe spaces and critical support for LGBT students.

  • Students in schools with GSAs are less likely to hear homophobic remarks in school on a daily basis than students in schools without a GSA (57% compared to 75%).
  • LGBT students in schools with GSAs are less likely to miss school because they feel unsafe compared to other students: a quarter (26%) of students in schools with GSAs missed school in the past month because they felt unsafe compared to a third (32%) of students at schools without GSAs.
  • LGBT students in schools with a GSA are significantly more likely than students in schools without a GSA to be aware of a supportive adult at school (84% compared to 56%). LGBT students who report having supportive faculty and other school staff report higher grade point averages and are more likely to say they plan to pursue post-secondary education than LGBT students who do not have supportive school staff.


Please read the entire GLSEN research brief for additional findings on GSAs in schools.

Please visit for upcoming announcements about the GLSEN Respect Awards - New York including honorees, presenters and special guests. To learn about available sponsorship opportunities, please click here.



GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit

About Born This Way Foundation

Led by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, Born This Way Foundation was founded in 2011 to foster a more accepting society. The Foundation is dedicated to creating a safe community where individuality is celebrated by connecting youth with the skills, resources and opportunities they need to build a braver, kinder world. BTWF, a non-profit charitable organization, will address issues like self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development through research, education and advocacy. Please visit and join the youth-powered movement to build a braver, kinder world.