Plan the first meeting with your liaison

Plan the first meeting with your liaison

Setting-up a GSA – information for students

Every student has the right to belong to a gay-straight alliance (GSA) or queer-straight alliance (QSA). As a student, you also have the right to start a GSA/QSA if your school does not have one. Look for a diverse group of allies to help start a GSA/QSA in your school. Allies are people who support and stand up for the human and civil rights of people who identify as LGBTQ2S+. Allies could be students or staff.

Find a staff liaison

If your school does not have a GSA/QSA and you would like to start one, the first step is to notify your school leadership, so that they can identify a supportive liaison.

GSA/QSA liaisons add stability and continuity to the group. The liaison can be a teacher, school staff, principal or other school board employees. If your school leadership is unable to find a GSA/QSA liaison, your principal should contact the school board and the Minister of Education will appoint a responsible adult to work with your GSA/QSA.

It is important to approach your school leadership about starting a GSA/QSA, so that they can ensure you have the support you need.

Once your GSA/QSA is in place, continue to work with your school leadership, which includes the principal, as they are an important connection between students, teachers, and the larger community. Supportive school leadership is essential to creating welcoming, caring, respectful, safe and inclusive school environments.

Promote your GSA

Once your GSA/QSA is set-up, discuss the best ways to promote it within your school. Spread the word by using a variety of communication tools. You may consider including messages announcing the first meeting on your school website, school announcements or a poster. Sometimes, just knowing your school has a GSA/QSA makes students feel safe and affirmed, even if they never attend a meeting.

Remember to emphasize that all students are welcome to be part of your school’s GSA/QSA. Reach out to both LGBTQ2S+ and non-LGBTQ2S+ students – the group’s diversity can be its greatest strength.

  • Icebreaker activity – help get everyone to know each other by doing a team building activity
  • Pick a name for your GSA/QSA – The name is less important than the service GSAs and QSAs provide, but you can choose how you want to be identified as a club. You can be called the GSA or QSA or you can choose a different name such as, but not limited to Straight and Gay Alliance Club, Acceptance Club, Diversity Group or Spectrum Club
  • Determine when, where and how often the group will meet. Some students may feel uncomfortable and nervous when first attending meetings. Try to find a location in your school with a comfortable atmosphere for all group members

Build a strong and effective group

  • Mission or vision statement – a guiding statement of core principles can help focus your group. You may wish to include principles related to diversity, equity, human rights and social justice.
  • Guidelines – Consider ground rules to guide your group discussions and encourage responsible and respectful behaviours. For effective communication and building trust, it is important to ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate and maintain confidentiality and safety (no gossip or labels).
  • Promote your mission – posters and other forms of communication can educate students and staff about the diversity in your school. It is important to maintain a positive and inclusive tone in all communications.
  • Educate your community – Discuss ways to inform members of your school community that the purpose of a GSA/QSA is to promote a welcoming, caring, respectful, safe and inclusive school environment for LGBTQ2S+ students and their allies.

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