GSA Network Blog

From heartbreak to homecoming: How I transformed my school for LGBTQ youth

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to become the first trans homecoming king in Texas. It was an incredible victory, but it wouldn’t have been possible without an earlier victory: I petitioned to start a GSA at my school and our club was approved.
I wasn’t the first one to try. Several years ago at Stephen F. Austin High School, another group of students just like us were heartbroken that school staff were unreceptive to a shared safe space between LGBTQ individuals and their allies. When my co-founders and I tried again to start a GSA, we were told we had to show the student body's interest in an official club related to LGBTQ matters. 
We started a petition and it took off. 
Can you imagine yourself leaving the principal's office actually smiling, carrying your petition filled with twice as many signatures as required in one hand and a club approval statement in the other?
A petition is a concrete document that proves to school administration that other students are excited to see a safe space created on your campus for your friends and peers. The success of our GSA's petition was an excellent precursor to the future success of our Alliance itself.  Starting a petition for a GSA is your first step to making a positive difference and paving the way for future LGBTQ students on campus.
Without my GSA, I wouldn't have had the chance to achieve a feat like becoming an FTM homecoming king. A club like GSA enables likeminded kids to advocate LGBTQ-inclusion and raise awareness of the community itself in schools nationwide. The events and discussions that took place in GSA are ones that have shaped me as an individual and budding LGBTQ advocate. I sincerely hope that your future GSA will be endlessly successful and visible in your school's community. Good luck!
Mel Gonzales is a senior at Stephen F. Austin High School in Texas. He was profiled by New York Magazine in October.

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