The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

Gay-Straight Alliance: A safe space for everyone

Provided by GSA
(From left) Oliver Elam, Max Stear, Adrien Starks, Helen Beebe, and Alastor Matta pose in front of the final slide of the first GSA meeting. The meeting focused on welcoming new members and icebreakers. “I really enjoy the atmosphere of the club. It’s a very diverse club,” Elam said.

In the wake of new anti-LGBTQ+ legislation effective on Sept. 1, the Gay-Straight Alliance met on Sept. 5 in Room 3703 to kick off the school year. 

President and junior Clarissa Li opened the meeting by speaking on the importance of having safe spaces like GSA, especially in Texas. Li specifically mentioned Senate Bills 14  and 17, two recently passed anti-LGBTQ+ bills. SB 14, effective Sept. 1, restricts access to gender-affirming care to minors, while SB 17, going effective on Jan. 1, would essentially ban diversity, equity and inclusion spaces in college. 

This is a big issue for junior and secretary Adrien Starks, as it threatens his friends and his community in GSA.

“Especially with the new legislation in Texas, it’s very difficult to have spaces like [GSA],” Starks said. “And they’re banning them on a collegiate level, so high schools are probably next, which is concerning.”

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Junior Oliver Elam expresses a similar sentiment regarding the drag show bans in Texas. SB 12, effective Sept. 1 but temporarily blocked by a judge, attempts to define drag as a sexually oriented performance and makes it punishable by a fine of up to $10,000. 

“I go to a lot of drag shows, and the drag community is inextricably intertwined with the trans community,” Elam said. “[The ban is] going to infringe on either of us, and it can go so much further. I feel like it’s more important now than ever to be part of those things and be unapologetic about what you stand for.” 

GSA isn’t all about promoting awareness and fighting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. A huge part of the club’s mission is building a safe and welcoming community. For junior Max Stear, the icebreakers were a particularly important part of the meeting. 

“During the GSA meeting, we had this icebreaker, ‘How did you know you’re gay?’,” Stear said. “And it was a very welcoming and warm moment because everybody was kind of in the same boat.”

To Stear, this is what makes GSA a unique experience and a crucial club to have at the school. 

“Being able to share something so deep to you that you probably couldn’t tell everybody definitely brought all of us together,” Stear said. “I’ve been a part of [other] clubs, but they weren’t specifically a safe space for gay people. And that is something that you can’t really get anywhere else, you know?”

Junior Jeffrey Gao, a new member and ally, encourages straight people to give GSA a chance. 

“In terms of my way of dispelling stigma, I would just tell [straight people] to go to GSA themselves and see what it’s like and see how nice and accepting the people there really are,” Gao said. “It’s a very accepting and welcoming area to be in, and [the club members] are willing to inform you on things you don’t know.”

To Stear, new allies checking out GSA are always a welcome sight at the meetings. 

“GSA could do a lot because straight people can go and hear these people’s experiences and maybe understand them and their struggles,” Stear said. “[GSA] could break stereotypes and make [queer people] seem more human.”

For Stear and others like him, allies can be very influential in their lives.

“Allyship means a lot,” Stear said. “It means a lot whenever [my straight friends] are well versed enough to have those conversations with me and treat it like they were talking to a person talking about who they like or a person talking about their insecurities.”

If someone is confused or has questions, Stear said ‘GSA is the place to go.’ Everyone is welcome to GSA, regardless of their intersectional identity. 

“For straight people, it’s a chance to understand what other people are going through and give them empathy,” Stear said. “For gay people, it’s a great space for allyship but also gay people supporting each other. If you ever feel like you’re not fully understood, somebody at GSA will. Not only about sexuality but about other stuff too.”

GSA meets every other Tuesday. To keep up with GSA, join its Remind using the code @bhsgsa2023 and follow its Instagram @bellairehsgsa.

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  • G

    Gennady KorotkevichSep 14, 2023 at 6:32 pm


  • J

    Jerimiah KarotSep 14, 2023 at 6:28 pm

    Didn’t SB 17 put straight people at a disadvantage?

    • A

      AllenSep 25, 2023 at 9:41 pm

      Bro how ?

  • A

    Alexander, TangSep 13, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    Wow! This guy is great!