Students support one another in GSA meeting

The Gay-Straight Alliance has undergone a revamp, complete with a new room, a new sponsor and new officers.

After three years of sponsoring the GSA, teacher Jon Watson passed sponsorship to Lauren Gehman.

“I’m the speech and debate teacher, so as much as I love the GSA, I have to prioritize debate,” Watson said. “I just don’t have the time.”

Senior Susannah Crowell stepped into the shoes of former president Rachel Stephenson.

“I’m really excited to take over as GSA president,” Susannah said. “I feel so positive and belonging after every meeting, and I hope to help others feel that same vibe. I hope that this year we can spread schoolwide awareness of the club and lessen or expel hate-slang.”

The club meets after school on Thursdays in room 320 to discuss events and issues relating to the LGBTQA spectrum. It aims to promote understanding within the community and provide a friendly, non-judgemental space for everyone involved.

“I want to make people more aware of GSA as a safe space, and make Westlake, as a whole, a safer place for LGBTQA people,” said junior Emily Krakow, one of the two GSA vice presidents.

The GSA crowd is a diverse group of teens seeking refuge, companionship and a chance to make a difference in the world.

“There’s a stereotype that everyone in GSA is gay, and I have to explain that I’m not to so many people who find out I’m in the club,” junior Michael Wiggin said. “[I go because] it’s a mature community filled with teenagers who aren’t afraid to be in a club that other people think is weird. It’s a place where labels aren’t needed, so I can relax and talk with a bunch of interesting people for an hour. What’s not to like about that?”

Susannah and her fellow officers are already busy planning club events and awareness campaigns, but most importantly, they want members to have fun.

“GSA is a human rights group, focusing on LGBTQA issues, and run by teens,” Susannah said. “It’s for anyone who feels worse-for-wear because of their sexual orientation, or who wants to help them and others with those issues.”