More teens flock to Pride Parade: GSAs on the rise in the Valley

... Reaching out to GSAs is a relatively recent development in the Greater Palm Springs Pride organization and others like it across the state and nation. However, it should come as no surprise. The number of GSA chapters and members has been on a rapid rise. There are nearly 900 chapters across the state representing some 60 percent of high schools and 1 percent of middle schools, said Yvonna Cázares, policy manager for the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, a California organization that helps students form GSA clubs.

“I mean, when I was at Palm Springs High School in 2002, we didn’t have a GSA club,” said Cázares. “And so, Pride is an event — which we all know — you go to it and you feel respected, accepted and now connected to a larger community, and it’s safe to be who you are.”

Which is exactly the sort of experience deHarte, wants the day to be for the teens.

“Maybe they’re not out in their school or family. But this gives them an opportunity to be with other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals and look around and say, you know what, I’m not alone and there are lots of people just like me,” deHarte said. “It’s very powerful. And when we stop creating those opportunities, then we’re leaving a huge void in our community.”

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The Desert Sun

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