By Ginna B.
Youth are evolving the meaning of their GSA clubs in a really powerful way.
As a youth-driven organization, it is our responsibility to respond to this evolution and accurately reflect the identities of the young people we serve. With the support and guidance of GSA youth leaders, we are thrilled to announce that Gay-Straight Alliance Network has officially changed its name to Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network.
The name change has been a long time coming. We have heard from countless youth leaders who understand their genders and sexualities to be uniquely theirs and have moved beyond the labels of gay and straight, and the limits of a binary gender system. For several years, students have been naming their individual school-based clubs in a way that reflects the values and identity of its members.
We were also inspired to change our name given the evolving function of GSA clubs. For a generation, since the late 1980s, GSAs have served as safe spaces for LGBTQ youth to build awareness and community as well as prevent discrimination and harassment in schools. More recently, however, these student-led clubs have transcended their traditional role and served as important vehicles for deeper social change both on school campuses and local or statewide educational policy.
New Name, Same Vision
Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network will continue to be known and commonly referred to by our acronym GSA Network. And our focus as a next-generation LGBTQ+ racial and gender justice organization that empowers and trains trans, queer, and allied youth leaders remains unchanged. Our name evolution simply supports youth leaders in developing their true authentic selves with the ability to define their own identities.
Over the next few months, we will work to align our movement building strategy with the needs of trans, queer and allied students across the nation, support the development of trans youth leaders to tell their own stories in their own way, and deepen our presence in schools and communities where the rights of LGBTQ+ students are being denied, around the country and here in California. As always, we will work to ensure the rights of students of all genders and sexualities, continuing to empower this next generation of trans, queer, and allied youth that are leading and redefining the GSA movement.
Ginna Brelsford and Geoffrey Winder