Gay - Straight Alliances at Downey High

Though fighting opposition from various directions, the Gay Straight Alliance club, or GSA, at Downey seeks to inform students interested in the gay cause, creating a safe place where open discussion and differences are welcome.Listed under various names, GSA is a nation-wide program with the same intention to inform students who are interested in supporting each other and a community that has faced many forms of opposition. Though this organization is widespread, it has only just begun at Downey as a club where open discussions are held between students, some who are heterosexual and homosexual. No matter what sexual preference a student holds, all are welcome to come and talk about any issues of interest, as well as ask questions. "It's a gay and straight alliance, gay and straight people come to the meetings," said GSA president Rodolfo Mendoza. "We try to offer a place where they can feel comfortable and we don't ask anyone to name their sexual preference. It's really students helping other students, a support group, even." Though faculty members of Downey may not particularly believe in the same cause as GSA, most of the administration and staff at this large high school have shown their acceptance of the club as simply another organization led by students on campus. Essentially, this is the sort of equality GSA hopes to continue receiving. Focusing on a cause with such a strong history of controversy, however, is almost certain to be met with an opposition unknown to a majority of other high school clubs. Opposition has not failed in rearing its ugly head at the infant club through several members of the community. However, GSA hopes to persevere and intends to focus mainly on establishing itself so that a safe haven may continue to be provided for all curious students of any religion and sexual preference. "We try to promote understanding," said Jennifer King, Downey mathematics teacher who provides the location for GSA meetings. "(There are) a lot of questions. A lot of it is curiosity, and a lot of Christians show up to this club just to support their friends. That is what I promote."

********** Published: November 20, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 31

FeaturesEric Pierce