I have a meeting with my principal this coming week about starting a GSA in my school. I go to a Catholic School, so I’m anticipating a little hesitance. Any tips on how to make this go smoothly?
Missy, one of our student ambassadors goest to a Catholic school too. Here’s some advice from her:
The most important thing is to open up dialogue and be honest with your principal. If there’s anything that I’ve learned from my own attempts at starting a GSA in a Catholic school, it’s that I really needed to work with my school, rather than getting angry when they wouldn’t let us do things. However, if you really think that they are being unfair, do not be afraid to defend yourself. Make sure that you let your principal know that you will keep them up to date on any activities you are planning, and definitely get any activities approved before starting them.
Your school may be different, and this is something you will want to discuss with your principal, but from my own experience, the main concern with starting a GSA is that it will lead to discussion of gay marriage, which is not endorsed by the Catholic Church. This may limit some of the things plan to do in your club, but it is not necessarily a bad thing! Focus on themes of being yourself, accepting yourself and others for who they are, and anti-bullying and discrimination, rather than discussing the legal aspects of LGBT rights.
If your school is still wary of a GSA, consider taking a more broad approach and calling it a diversity club. (Maybe you already have one!) For example, my school’s club is called Discrimination Stops Here, which allows us to talk about LGBT issues because we also discuss things like racism and sexism. It may not be exactly what you’re looking for, but it will allow you an outlet for things like the Day of Silence and Ally Week, as you could easily expand those in your school to encompass more than just LGBT issues.
Most of all, just be patient. It’s a tough situation and things may not work out perfectly, but even a small step is moving in the right direction.