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Does PHS Need a Gay-Straight Alliance Club? Students Say, ‘Yes!’

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As a new student at Peekskill High School, I noticed that one thing that I had in my old school that Peekskill doesn’t have here, is a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Club. In my previous school, the GSA was a valued part of our school community and I thought it would be really cool if we could start one Peekskill High School.  

In the short time I’ve been here at PHS, I’ve already noticed a need for the club, as we do have students that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Now, some of you may not be familiar with the culture or terms associated with the LGBTQ+ lifestyle, and to me, that accentuates the need for such a club even more. A GSA Club would not only help our student population gain a better understanding of alternative lifestyles and assist in teaching tolerance, but we could also organize events to teach others about what LGBTQ+ is about. Also, if we had such a club, the GSA could be used as a safe space for students to vent and help individuals and their peers build up their self-esteem.

From a different perspective, I turned to a friend who has been in this district their whole life. Throughout their time in school, they realized that they weren’t like everyone else. After realizing they identified as non-binary, (neither male nor female), and pansexual, (someone who is attracted to others regardless of their sex or gender identity), this made them feel as if they didn’t belong at PHS and that they lacked a voice of their own.  The problem was, as they stated, that despite the school’s zero-tolerance policy for bullying, people can still be insensitive about people’s personal preferences, and many continue to use words like “gay” in the wrong context, which in turn alienates an entire group of students. The conclusion that my friend and I came to in our discussion is that all LGBTQ+ students that wish to be recognized as such, have the right to be recognized and represented in our school. No one should be made to live behind a curtain if they don’t want to.

The moral I hope many of you will take from this article is that you cannot judge a book by its cover. Members of the LGBTQ+ community are very much like many of the other students here at PHS. In the end, if you’re nice to someone, they’ll most likely be nice to you back, and no one wants to go through high school labeled or alone.

If you agree and think there’s a need for a GSA Club at our school, I invite you to share your opinion. Start the conversations that need to be had to help produce the change you want to see at Peekskill High School.

Finally, if anyone is looking for someone to talk to anonymously, you can contact one of our school psychologists, Ms. Brown or Mr. Olmstead. And most importantly, know that if you identify with what is written here, know that you are not alone.

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