Starting a GSA

From Karen Jones, former advisor to the Medina GSA:
Best advice:
Make sure starting out that it is KID LED; i.e., Kids have asked to form a group.  MUCH more helpful in getting admins on board, even if others disagree.  If kids can start up a prayer around the flagpole or whatever, there you go!

Step #1
 students should be the initiators of a GSA
Step #2 –
then advisors are needed!
Step #3
(for some schools)is coming up with a mission statement
and goals.  The Medina H.S. GSA advisor has graciously
               made their club mission and goals available to anyone
               who wants them! Medina GSA proposal
Step #4 –
get in touch with GLYS (
to get added to the GSA/club advisor list!
Experienced advisors are always willing to share with and help rookie advisors!

Students have a legal right to GSAs:
Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) are non-curricular student clubs – just like Chess Clubs or Key Clubs – that allow students with a shared interest to meet and participate in discussions and activities.  According to the federal Equal Access Act, public high schools that allow students to form non-curricular clubs must also allow students to start GSAs.
If you are getting stonewalled, please contact GLYS.
We will link you to Emily Terrana at the NYCLU
who can help you make your case.

Have students asked you to help them start a GSA 
at your school?
If you would like to hear from WNY educators who are already advising GSAs,
contact Sonia at GLYS ( – she can put you in touch with them.

Or, you can also check out these internet resources:
Also from the Medina GSA & their advisor –
Establishing Your GSA Club

Teaching Tolerance
published this article In November, 2007:
‘THIS is Why We Need a GSA’

Gay Straight Alliance Network
Also with GSA start-up information and much more.

NYCLU (New York Civil Liberties Union) – their WNY branch is located around the corner from GLYS and one of their staff, Emily Terrana, is a former GLYS Youth Mentor.
Emily is the NYCLU local expert on the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA).  If you are trying to start a GSA and are not getting the support you need from administrators or your school district’s Board of Education, contact Emily.  You have the legal right to form a Gay Straight Alliance in your school!  Emily and the NYCLU can provide you with information – and if needed, other assistance – to educate educators on your rights.

Students:  Seeking a Safe Contact in your school?
Are you a young person who wants to talk with a teacher, counselor, social worker, or other staff member at your school about sexual orientation or gender identity but aren’t sure who is “safe”? If so, call or email GLYS. We will try to identify a safe contact for you.  We will not reveal your identity. Contact us at 716.855.0221 or