By Sebastian Gonzales,
The Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) club had only about six members last year. This year, almost 30 students showed up for the meeting on Sept. 20.
Special Education teacher and GSA adviser Bill Wheeler says the club plans on attending many events, as well as organizing events within the school to try to make the school a more comfortable place for students of every sexual orientation.
Wheeler says he stresses the fact that you do not have to be gay to attend the meetings, as that is a common misconception. He wants the club to be a safe place for people to come and get away from the social struggles of high school.
A big reason behind GSA assembling these events is to bring publicity to the club. Sophomore Ray Young is a GSA club member and says that one problem the club has is that a lot of people do not know about it.
“They make announcements about the club in the bulletin, but nobody really listens to those. We need more ways for people to know about us,” Young said.
In years past, the club has attended out of school events such as Queer Youth Advocacy Day, an event held at the state capitol, along with conferences in the Bay Area to help generate ideas to bring back to Davis High.
According to Wheeler, this year the club plans on taking part in Ally Week from Oct. 21-25, Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, No Name-Calling Week from Jan. 21-24 and Day of Silence on April 11.
According to math teacher and adviser of GSA Nicholas Pasquale, the purpose of some of these events is to symbolically represent the people who feel like they cannot speak out for themselves or to bring recognition to the individuals, who have had their lives taken by way of suicide or murder because of their sexual orientation.
Pasquale plans on organizing movie nights with a GSA theme, but also says that if the club is going to be successful in fulfilling its purpose, which is to make all kids more comfortable at DHS, it cannot simply be a social club, meaning they cannot just sit around and talk at meetings.
Pasquale wants to bring more current events into club as well by “bringing the kids information about the outside world, not just about DHS,” in hopes to incorporate that into the club.
Irene Ybarra is a lesbian living in Davis; she suggests a day or event designated to family communication.
“Most people don’t know how to approach their family about their orientation. They need all the help they can get,” Ybarra said.
How kids can find comfort is an issue Wheeler and the rest of GSA has been trying to solve by putting up posters, and creating events for the school, but still he says most kids are not aware of the club or where to find it.
The meetings are held every Friday at lunch in Wheeler’s classroom, L-28, upstairs above the library.