GSA Promotes Conversation Between Straight and LGBTQ Youth After School


Rachel Vigil

A poster hanging in Ms. Hovland’s classroom, the meeting place of GSA.

Rachel Vigil, Editor-in-Chief

Each Wednesday afternoon, in the heart of the annex, one of Wheat Ridge’s smaller clubs meets up.

This club exists to provide a safe environment for LGBTQ students and their straight allies. It is the Gay-Straight Alliance, or GSA.

Wheat Ridge’s GSA was founded in the fall of 2016 by then-freshman Noah Jansen. He founded it because the school didn’t have one, and he thought that the school needed a safe space. The club’s adviser is Brittany Hoveland Since last year, membership has declined, especially among straight allies. Both this year and last, the club has participated in National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11.

Typical meetings start out with a few questions at check-in. Everyone in the club circles up, says their name, what pronouns they use to describe themselves, and how their day has gone. Everyone then answers the question of the day, which can be virtually anything. Past questions include “What is your favorite color?”, “If you could be killed by any animal, which animal would you choose and how?”, and “What animal would you want to shrink so it can fit in your hand?” Jansen, who serves as the leader, then goes through the rules of GSA, which are to not be mean to one another, to not use racist or any sort of phobic language, and no mentioning drugs or alcohol unless they are being discussed seriously by the club.

Sometimes, GSA has structured days where one subject is prepared and then seriously discussed. Some of their more serious and structured discussions have been about consent, healthy relationships, knowledge of rights, and HIV and STD awareness. The club is largely student run. If one of the members wants to present on a topic or wants Jansen to present that topic, that’s what the club will do that day.

Club members also just organize fun events to do together. Last year they did a white elephant gift exchange, which they hope to continue with this year. Jansen is also trying to put together a movie night filled with LGBTQ-themed films voted on by the club members.

GSA is open to all students. Most recruitment is done through word of mouth, either by club members or teachers. The door is usually closed during meetings to preserve the confidentiality of everyone in the club. No one is forced to disclose their sexual or gender identity. The club aims, and will continue to aim, to preserve the safety and secrets of students while creating an educational and welcoming environment for them.