By: Laura Wadden

This post is first in a series from GSA Network’s National Program Manager, who just returned from a 9-day road trip through Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.

The GSA movement is spreading… and it’s spreading like wild fire through the South and Midwest. I just got back from a 1328-mile road trip, where I visited four National Association members (and one soon to be member) in Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.

Each organization is doing great work to empower GSA activists to make it better in schools, and each is tackling unique issues:

In Tennessee, activists are busy fighting the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill that prohibits teachers and school employees from discussing any sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.

In Missouri, Growing American Youth just sponsored their first GSA summit last year and they are looking to raise money to hire their first full-time staff person.

Kentucky has a hotbed of GSA activism in Louisville, KY, and they are eager to kick off a regional Kentucky GSA Network in the next year.

Up north in Indianapolis, GSAs are coming out of the woodwork. Now, the Indiana GSA Network is looking at ways to build practical skills of GSA activists.

And, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance is blazing the way by organizing a youth-led effort to enforce their new anti-bullying law.
Over the nine days, I met with leaders in each state, provided training to emerging GSA Networks, and connected them with existing resources. I was truly inspired by the youth leaders powering our movement and I can’t wait to share more stories from my trip.

Check back at to learn more about my trip and read the next blog in the series, “Hostile climates don’t stop GSAs”