First GSA meeting of the year well attended

  “I wanted there to be a safe place for queer students to be themselves and have the whole student body be more accepting.” -Tre Ellebracht, GSA president

By Marissa Green

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BSHS prides itself on its ability to sustain a unique and comfortable environment for its equally unique 1,998 staff members and 2,548 students. Though it is already a diverse place, senior Lawrence Ellebracht set out to make it more inclusive. He was the spark that started the Genders and Sexuality Alliance (GSA).

“I wanted there to be a safe place for queer students to be themselves and have the whole student body be more accepting,” Ellebracht said.

After counselors rallied their support for the idea last year and he was successful in starting the club, he faced serious hurdles the first few meetings when he was met with protestors. There was a group of students who attempted to disrupt the meeting, but Ellebracht was determined to make it a positive experience for those involved.

“Anyone is welcome to the club, and we’re not trying to do anything negative. All anyone in this club wants is to feel comfortable and welcome in their own school,” Ellebracht said.

Ellebracht persisted and strived to make a safe place for the queer youth attending his high school.

Senior Kaela Zarrillo was in attendance for most of the meetings, supporting her friends.

“The GSA has brought more awareness, not only to the LGBTQ+ community, but also (to) the barriers we still need to overcome to achieve equality,” Zarrillo said.

Zarrillo noted that the idea of the GSA interested her and decided to attend with her friends.

“During the first couple meetings everyone was very shy, but as the year has gone on everyone became comfortable and GSA was a fun and safe place that everyone looked forward to,” Zarrillo remarked, reflecting on the meetings last year.  

GSA strives to create a safe and inclusive environment for queer youth and their allies. Group leaders feel it is important to show the LGBTQ+ community the support they may lack in other places.

“Allies come and understand queer peoples’ struggle and learn. Queer students come and feel comfortable talking about what matters to them,” Ellebracht said.

Kicking off the first meeting of the year on October 9th, WCH shift B, GSA enjoyed a tremendous turnout with many new faces. Moving forward, meetings will take place on every third Tuesday of the month for the remainder of the year. Allies, supporters, friends, or members of the LGBTQ+ community are all welcome to attend these landmark sessions.