History and Accomplishments
GSA Network was founded by in 1998 to empower youth activists to start GSA clubs to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools.
GSA Network founder Carolyn Laub began working with 40 GSA clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1998-99 school year. The organization quickly expanded and by 2001 GSA Network became a statewide organization. By 2005, GSA Network began operating programs nationally.
In 2008, GSA Network became incorporated as its own independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Prior to that, GSA Network was a fiscally sponsored project of The Tides Center.
In 2015, GSA Network's Board of Directors, hired two long time staff to serve as Co-Executive Directors to replace outgoing founder and Executive Director Carolyn Laub. In 2016, Gay-Straight Alliance Network formally changed its name to Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network, and continues to network organizations representing over 4000 GSA clubs across the nation.
Since our founding in 1998, GSA Network has:
- Grown the network of GSA clubs in California from 40 clubs to over 900 clubs.
- Brought GSA clubs to over 61% of all California public high schools and a growing number of middle schools, impacting more than 1.1 million students.
- Provided training and support to over 10,000 youth activists and organizers across the state.
- Served over 30,000 student members.
- Played a leadership role in grassroots organizing for the passage of ground-breaking, statewide legislation, AB 537: The California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Achieved a critical victory as plaintiff in the first lawsuit filed under AB 537; the three-year settlement agreement required the Visalia schools to enact sweeping reforms including mandatory teacher and student trainings.
- Helped to pass 11 key laws to protect LGBT youth and create safer schools.
- Launched the National Association of GSA Networks in 2005 to unite statewide organizations supporting GSAs and accelerate the growth and impact of the GSA movement nationwide. To date, 40 states have joined the National Association.
- Developed a unique, replicable model of youth-led social justice organizing to end homophobia and transphobia in schools that groups in New Mexico, Texas, and other states are using.
- Currently GSA clubs are uniting trans and queer youth to fight for racial and gender justice