GSAs (Gay-Straight Alliances) are student organizations dedicated to increase the safety and visibility of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) students. They can provide a safe space for LGBT students, and push for real change inside their schools. Get one started in your school!
Find an advisor. Most student clubs are required to have an advisor- a faculty member that supervises club meetings, and also serves as a link between faculty and students. Even if your school doesn't require an advisor, they're still very helpful to have. Talk to teachers you think might be interested. Put out an advertisement in the faculty announcements, or even a flier. Try to find a teacher that is as dedicated as you are.
Get administrator approval. In many schools, all clubs have to go through a process to become an official student organization. Ask your school's secretary or administrator how to start a student organization, and they should direct you to the proper procedure. This could range from simply filling out a form to meeting with the school board. Remember: if you attend a public school in the United States that has extracurriculars, you have the right to start a GSA at your school. For more information, see the American Civil Liberties Union's explanation.
Set a purpose. Though it might seem self-explanatory, having a mission statement, and referring to it often, can help keep your GSA on track. An example mission statement would be: The GSA will create an environment where LGBT students are safe and appreciated.
Plan your actions. Think ahead of time about what you specifically want to do as a GSA. Do you want to be primarily a support/social group? Do you want to push for policy changes, like including gender identity and gender expression into anti-harassment policy, or having gender-neutral bathrooms? Will your GSA spread awareness and tolerance through events like GLBT History Month or Day of Silence? Make sure to talk with your members and advisor to get their input on your plans.
Get organized. In order to have a successful GSA, you have to be prepared and organized. Know your terminology, be professional, and be respectful. Set up definite meeting dates. Establish a club government, with at least one core leader. Detail your plans of what you need to accomplish, and divide up the tasks. Being organized can make the difference between a tangled mess and a well-oiled activism machine.
Advertise! Clubs have a hard time functioning without members. Get the word out about your club by making announcements, a Facebook page or group, fliers, posters; everything you can think of. The more people know about your GSA, the more members you will get.
Know your rights. Many times, administrators aren't keen on the idea of a GSA. However, if your school allows non-curricular clubs to form (e.g. Key Club, Chess Club), they are most likely obligated to allow your GSA to form under the Equal Access Act. If you receive a "no" to your proposal, it may be a violation of your rights.
Finally, get in touch. Find out if there are other GSAs in your area. Currently, there is at least one GSA in every state, and Puerto Rico. Organizations like GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) and GSA Network also provide resources and networking for Gay-Straight Alliances. Use their resources, knowledge, and experience to your benefit. If you need more assistance or have any questions, the staff at TSR are always willing to assist as well.