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A Gay-Straight Alliance is a community group with people who are heterosexual and LGBTQ+ people. Members work together to fight homophobia and transphobia and create a safer, more supportive environment in their communities.
The first Gay-Straight Alliances were started in schools in the 1980s. Today Gay-Straight Alliances are common in middle and high schools throughout America and the world. There are also gay-straight alliances with adult members in cities and suburbs.
Gay-Straight Alliance is often shortened to the acronym GSA.
Members of a gay-straight alliance are vocal about educating others around them about the importance of inclusion and acceptance of different sexualities. They speak to decision makers, like government officials and teachers, about making their communities safer for LGBTQ+ people. They also encourage other members of their community to stand up against intolerance and become more accepting.
Members of a gay-straight alliance also listen to and support one another through their problems, especially those related to sexuality. They can make both straight and LGBTQ+ members feel more connected to other like-minded members and provide a valuable social outlet. Some gay-straight alliances even organize social events, like PRIDE proms, which give LGBTQ+ students safe spaces to dance and express their feelings towards their dates. Individual gay-straight alliances may also have individual goals that reflect their own community and its needs.
Gay-straight alliances help members of the LGBTQ+ community feel safe. This is especially important in places where LGBTQI individuals typically feel vulnerable, like schools. It can even help LGBTQ+ people feel more confident about their sexuality and help them come out to their peers and family members. Studies show gay-straight alliances help reduce rates of depression and school drop-outs. Gay-straight alliances can also enhance the lives of straight members, making them feel connected and involved with their peers and community.