11 Things your School’s GSA can do!, by Madison Fitzgerald
Here’s a list of 11 things your school’s GSA can do. Hopefully these ideas will help you get started.
- Start off with a team meeting to talk about your goals/dreams/visions for the GSA!
What you do as a group will look different for every GSA but the idea is to have an open discussion about what your GSA wants to focus its energy and efforts on this year.
Start off by building community, trust, safety and hopes for the year ahead! Every GSA will have different needs and goals because each school is unique. Make sure you take some time to talk about what your collective goals and needs are; is your GSA focused on social activities, support, education, and advocacy? Could be all of these things, or some depending on your group’s needs and goals! The important thing is to have a discussion and come up with a vision for the group that meets all members’ needs 🙂
- Try Mind mapping: A great way to start off the year could be to do a mind-mapping exercise together! Basically, either on a chalkboard or on some big chart paper draw your GSA in the middle and then as a group create a representation of the values, ideas, issues, activities, events, actions that are important to your group! These don’t all need to be things your GSA commits to but can give you all a chance to put down what is important to you and then it can be used to inspire you throughout the year and you can go back to it for ideas.
- This resource could be helpful to get you thinking
- History Show and Tell
Research significant folks from LGBTQ2+ communities that have played a role in advocating for justice around queer and trans issues:
- Are there people in the community (local folks!)? What about in other cities?
- Video and Discussion: this video features Reina Gossett, a writer/actor/filmmaker, discussing how often trans and queer history is erased
Who is an important part of LGBTQ2+ history? What did you think about this video? Do you think it’s important to reflect on the history of LGBTQ2+ communities and movements related to issues in these communities? What do you know about the history of the LGBTQ2+ community in your city/province/country?
- Could create a historical timeline that you showcase in the school
- Spread the word about your GSA: Poster Party!
Brainstorm what you would want people in your school to know about your GSA: its values, mission and goals. This could focus on highlighting the GSA or a particular issue that is important to your group. Make the posters together and then decide how you want to share them around the school.
- Library Exploration
Take a visit to your school’s library and check out what books you can find with LGBTQ2+ content or written by folks from within the community (Check out our Media Resources page for a great list). After this, decide what you want to do as a group! If there is a lot you could think about talking to the librarian about making a display to highlight or celebrate LGBTQ2+ lit! If there is not a lot, your GSA could brainstorm ways to address this and be involved in getting more LGBTQ2+ books in your school’s library.
- Hang out and watch some LGBTQ2+ shows
Out With Dad – Award Winning Wining Series about a single Dad raising a lesbian daughter. Trust me it’s awesome and super cute! PG
Good Freaky – Young Adults talk about dating mishaps in the LGBTQ+ community, PG-13. Lots of the filming was done locally and is the product of our local talent and former OK2BME Public Educator, Melissa Sky.
- Create a Zine!
Here is a link to a video (it moves quickly!) of how to make a zine)
The great thing about a zine is that you can decide what goes in it! Some ideas: could talk about each of your experiences in the GSA, issues related to sexual orientation or gender identity, it could be educational around a particular issue that is important to your GSA, it could talk about why you think having a GSA is important and some history about your GSA! You could make one zine as a team or spend time making personal zines! Think about what would be possible and exciting for your teamJ
- Self Care Chat
Have a discussion about what self care means when living in an environment where there is homophobia and transphobia, discrimination and violence.
Feel free to take a look at this blog, the author talks about what self care is and gets you to think about people’s experiences of oppression and marginalization and how that can impact the ways that we practice self care.
Questions to reflect on:
- What does your GSA think about the idea of self care, as an individual and community practice?
- What are your thoughts on how people’s experiences of homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism impact their wellbeing?
- What does self care mean to you? What does it look like or feel like?
- Here is a worksheet that gets you thinking about self care, members of your GSA could each fill out their own and then share them with others or take them home.
- Conversation about Allyship
As a GSA what does allyship and acting as an ally mean to you? For example, working to be an ally to LGBTQ2+ communities.
This is a cool zine to get you thinking about the idea of allyship (which basically means the actions or work of being an ally).
You can take a look at this zine online, you could print it out and you could have a discussion about what it means to act as an ally to the LGBTQ2+ community. There are some words in there that might be new to you, there is a list of definitions at the end and maybe if a new word comes up it’s a good opportunity for your group to do some research together and learn more about it!
You can also check out our previous blog post about allyship.
- Organize an event/outreach initiative/create a poster or host a discussion for:
Coming Out Day (Oct 11th):
Think about what this day means to your GSA, what are your thoughts and feelings on this day, is there anything you want to organize or talk about in relation to this day?
Here is some info about the history of this day and videos you could watch and discuss as a group.
Transgender day of Remembrance (November 20th):
“Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.” –GLAAD org website
- Group Discussion about Representation
Have a meeting that examines images of LGBTQ2+ folks (explore your fave shows, movies, media). What do you notice in this representation? Are certain people left out, are certain people centered? Consider things like race, ability, class, size, and any other intersections you notice. Talk about it as a group and possible create a list of LGBTQ2+ representation that is meaningful to your group.
- Build a resources page together
As a group make a list of:
- spaces that feel safe/ inclusive
- Services in your community for LGBTQ2+ folks
- Events in your community
- blogs, Instagram accounts, articles, websites that people in your GSA feel offer good resources or representation of LGBTQ2+ folks and issues
All of these are just suggestions for what your GSA might do. If you come up with other great ideas you’d like to share, please send them to us firstname.lastname@example.org and feel free to share things on our Facebook page, or tag us in Twitter posts.