I came out at the beginning of this year (my senior year), and I was desperately looking for some place I could turn to for answers. Since there was no Gay-Straight Alliance at my school and no organizations near me I was pretty much on my own other than a few friends who had limited knowledge on the subject. I ended up turning to complete strangers over the Internet, but I needed to find more people I could relate to that I could talk to face to face. I didn’t know where I was going to get that, that is until I started talking to my guidance counselor.
I brought it up to her and she said she thought it would be a great idea but we would have to raise funds to get a teacher to be the adviser. Our school ran out of money for clubs so all clubs must fund raise to pay their adviser. She looked up the cost and it was a whopping $2500 we would have to raise. My friend and I did the calculations and it would have taken until almost April to get it up and running. By then it wouldn’t be worth it for the year.
Going back to the guidance counselor she had an idea. We would offer the GSA as a support group during the school day under an assumed name. She came up with the name Adversity Support Group, or ASG. The principal thought it was a much needed group and the next week we were up and running.
Twelve members at the first meeting and twenty at the second proved word of mouth was useful. Just being in the same room as these people was such a powerful thing. Everyone had a different story to tell, a different hardship they had faced, and yet they all had come together to support one another. The club consisted mostly of straight allies but there were enough LGBT students to keep it interesting. We had at least one of everyone.
At introductions at the first meeting I learned so much about what it meant to be a gay student in high school. Teasing, name calling, physical violence; it made me want to help more than I already had so I started talking after the introductions. We talked about ways to raise awareness and how to change some rules and we got a decent amount done. I was really pleased with the result. After the meeting I had so many people come up to me and thank me for getting it up and going. It made me feel warm and fuzzy.
The most recent thing we did was Day of Silence, sponsored by The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Eduction Network. We went to the sidewalk in front of our school and talked about a bunch of statistics surrounding the LGBT community. We got such a positive response from that. And it raised awareness for the group. Day of Silence was a huge success. The group is still going strong and I’m honored to have been involved with it and that I get to leave that behind as my legacy when I graduate this year. It’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life.