New group provides ‘safe place’ for students

by Brenna Redmond

Miles Dean, a senior, is an openly gay human rights activist. With the amount of passion he puts into his opinions and actions, it is not surprising that he has succeeded where so many others have failed in making the GSA, but what is the GSA?

“The acronym stands for Gay-Straight Alliance,” Dean said. “No matter if you’re gay, straight, bisexual—whatever you are—this is a safe place for you to be in.”

Through sheer determination and motivation to help those who he feels have no voice, Dean and fellow GSA initiator, Karli Russell, dogged possible sponsors and the Bell administration until they were given permission to start the progressive organization.

“Since we’re in Texas, we need to be really careful,” Dean said. “Especially with activities we plan, because every single thing we do is scrutinized, every single action we take is controversial. We are controversial.”

Controversial or not, the importance of the club is evident through the support shown by the students who have participated and their relief at the acceptance guaranteed through the club’s rules prohibiting discriminatory behavior and language.

“I see [club members] in the halls and they look different when they are in our club,” Dean said. “They are not afraid to be who they are and they are not afraid to say what they want to say because everyone there will support you.”

The GSA sponsor is teacher Mike Schille, who was originally reluctant to take on the immense responsibility of giving these students the safe haven they expect, but after hearing of their emotional urgency for the club, he was quickly won over.

“I’m blown away by the number of kids who needed this club,” Schille said. “Never would I see this kind of need, but it’s truly needed.”

The club’s three main components consist of support, activism, and being social. Not many students currently know about the GSA or its purpose, but hopefully with the club’s expansion, awareness and acceptance will win out over ignorance and intolerance.

“Recently we had elections and class speeches for class representatives,” Dean said, “and this one girl spoke and gave this wonderful speech about how important this club was to her. One girl in the audience remarked on how that was the most she had ever heard her say since the second grade and it’s powerful.”

Powerful is the most accurate word to describe what this club does for those who cannot do any more than they are already doing.

“I have a student in my club who is transgendered, and when I told her we were fighting for this, she burst into tears because she was so happy that people cared.”

The GSA is planning many school-involved events, including a color run, a lavender ball, and a day of silence in which students tape their mouths closed and do not speak for an entire day in order to represent those who have no voice. These and many other socially progressive activities are in the near future and will need all the support possible.

“Our meetings are every Monday after school in H-14,” Dean said. “Sometimes I think every week is a little excessive, but some students really rely on that.”

In a world where fairness is sparse and ignorance is prevalent, fighting is all we can do.


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