SoCal GSA Activist Camp

By Ginna Brelsford & Geoffrey Winder, Co-Executive Directors

Trans and queer youth fuel transformative change in their schools every day. They have led us through landmark legislative victories and taken a central role in GSA Network’s strategic vision and governance. What we often don’t see is the deep, personal transformation they experience as they navigate old-fashioned school politics, complex bureaucratic systems, and relentless attacks on their identities from the media or governments. Their personal growth is a subtle, yet indispensable part of our collective power-building.

New GSA clubs across the country continue to form and register their clubs every week. Their activism and leadership inspires hope and great promise for the movement’s future. We’re inspired by their leadership in 2018 as we saw the National TRUTH Council and the National Youth Council emerge as powerhouses for youth voice and organizing as never before. More than 80 participants representing 15 organizations from more than 20 states organized through these councils and convened in Salt Lake City, Utah in August to define their liberation and strategize for the upcoming year. TRUTH launched a new site (ourtranstruth.org) and continues to be the driving force behind our annual GSA Day for Gender Justice on November 17th. We also trained 1,000+ youth organizers through leadership summits, conferences and Activist Camps.

Our national movement building has remained strong in the West/California, grown exponentially in the Southeast, and built momentum in the Midwest. We are now pushing forward an expansion to the Southwest and hired a new Associate Director of National Partnerships based in New Mexico as we start to solidify our work on the ground. At least 19 states have formally joined the National Association of GSA Networks and are committed to carrying out a trans and queer youth led strategy for racial and gender justice at the local and national level.

As we kick off a new year of student-led organizing, we want to shine a bright light on trans and queer youth who fearlessly embark on a journey of personal growth and transformation that builds our collective power for generations to come. We want to thank them for having the courage to speak their truth at a critical time in their lives. We want to acknowledge that it is their voice that fuels and transforms our movement.