Rogers Gay Straight Alliance works to change misconceptions | Community Spirit
Members of Rogers High School’s Gay Straight Alliance gathered around the flagpole after school on Friday for a special ceremony. Together the group released 62 balloons to remember loved ones that members of the student body have lost.
The club has been selling the balloons all month as a GSA fundraiser and to promote their club in the school. Each balloon had a personal message attached from the students that purchased them to remember the loved one on their mind.
“I’d want just one person to remember me,” said Rogers GSA President James. “And even if they see one name that person is remembered.”
The Gay Straight Alliance club at Rogers will be remembered. It’s come a long way since a handful of students started it in 1996, and on Wednesday afternoon 22 of 44 members gathered for the club’s weekly meeting. Last year, the club was named among the top three GSAs in the nation after it hosted the first high school drag show in the country.
When James whispered that he was gay to a close group of friends in middle school he quickly became the target of bullying and gossip. When he joined the GSA as a freshman at Rogers he was hoping to find a place where he felt accepted.
“There’s a safe place I can go there,” said James. The GSA at Rogers isn’t just a safe place for LGBTQ teens, but also for those students who haven’t found their safe place.
“It’s just overall disappointing,” said Anakin of the bullying that happens in school hallways. “GSA is pretty supportive.”
At GSA meetings everyone has a place.
“Did anyone feel hopeless or despondent this week?” GSA Advisor Barb Silvey asked during Wednesday’s meeting. When several students raised their hand she provided them with a Pep Talk from Kid President, a popular video blog that believes kids have the power to change the world.
“If life is a game, isn’t we all on the same team?” Kid President asks in his Pep Talk. “What will you create to make the world awesome?”
Rogers GSA is out to make their world awesome. In addition to putting on the first high school drag show last year, the group worked with the school to have a unisex bathroom designated at the school for transgender students. They regularly write thank you letters to politicians and companies that openly support equality for everyone.
The GSA is hoping that the club will not only change misconceptions about them as people, but will change misconceptions about their school. They want to be a group that Rogers than can be proud of.
“I want a better reputation for Rogers,” said Destiny. “We want to not be a stereotype anymore.”
Destiny and her friends from GSA want Rogers to be known as the school that accepts everyone.
“That what our club does,” said James. “We change misconceptions.”
James joined GSA as a freshman looking for a safe place to go at school. In June, he’ll graduate and being a part of GSA has made all the difference for him.
“I strut down the hallways now,” he said.