GSTA and Its Impact on Air Academy

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GSTA and Its Impact on Air Academy

GTSA displays a timeline of famous LGBT people in October for National LGBT history month.

GTSA displays a timeline of famous LGBT people in October for National LGBT history month.

GTSA displays a timeline of famous LGBT people in October for National LGBT history month.

GTSA displays a timeline of famous LGBT people in October for National LGBT history month.

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When students around AAHS (Air Academy High School) are presented with the idea of a GSTA, their response is usually, “What’s that?”

Many people have never even heard of the program, but it has an exceptional impact on the school.

GSTA stands for the Gay-Straight-Trans Alliance, and it is a school club that serves as a sanctuary for LGBTQ+ youth to meet others like them and feel supported, and for non-LGBT students to learn more about, and support, LGBT.

“I sponsor this club because I feel every student deserves a safe space and I think GSTA supports our school environment for many reasons,” explained biology teacher and club sponsor Cris Robson. “It provides a safe space for a very at-risk group of students and it serves to educate the broader school community.”

According to ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), “GSAs 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.”  

This club is very important to the LGBTQ+ community, especially in a school setting where sexuality and gender discrimination can be prevalent.

Robson said, “LGBTQIA students tend to be among the most bullied at schools and have the highest rates of suicide attempts and completion of any other student demographic. Having a club like this is critical for the health of our students and our student body as a whole.”

This club takes action to spread awareness as well, like the National Day of Silence and AAHS’s own version. Last Year, on May 4th, students both participating in GSTA and ones who simply wanted to show their support (Allies) dressed in red and went without speaking for the entire day to show their willingness to stand up and take action. 

“GSTA is much more than a safe space as well, it is also a means of educating all of our student population about issues facing LGBTQIA students. There are a lot of misconceptions out there and there are also a lot of behaviors that some people do (adults and kids) that are harassing to LGBTQIA students and I think many people do not even realize how offensive their behavior is,” Robson added.

The Day of Silence event was just an example of the many being planned to help LGBTQ+ members feel more acknowledged by the larger school community. The atmosphere in GSTA is one that provides a feeling of safety and support for their years in high school.

“I feel very supported in this club,” stated Junior Makeyle Barnes. “It’s been nice to have a place where I can talk about LGBTQ+ issues and experiences without judgment. And the people in GSTA are just so kind.”

Having a GSTA at AAHS is very important as a safe space for those who have come out as LGBTQ+ or are beginning to question. As stated by ACLU, “GSAs provide a supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, as well as those who are perceived by others to be LGBT, are questioning their identity, have LGBT friends or family members, or just care about LGBT issues.”

AAHS’s GSTA definitely helps to create a supportive environment for LGBTQ+ in the school and in the world as a whole.