Is it a good idea to set up a Gay-Straight Alliance?

Athny asks: I’m thinking of making a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance), But, I’m not sure of what people would think, and how people would react (Some of my people are part of the rare species called Homophobic) – not to mention who would join.

Hi Athny –

The history of the human race can be viewed as a long journey in civil rights.  I guess when you all were cavemen, things were pretty even and equal between you.  But once you started civilizations, certain people started to be treated better than others, everywhere.  And groups that were powerful at one time became downtrodden later on, and vice versa.  Over the last 300 years or so, the idea of equality of all humans has been an ideal that’s only grown.  Different societies have gone about this in different ways, but overall, humans have aimed for higher equality between races, ethnic groups, sexes, economic classes… and, more recently, sexual orientations.

Just as with the earlier civil rights battles, success has depended on those fighting for their rights being helped by at least some supportive members of those who already have them.  We hear stories of Germans and Dutch who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, or white Americans who fought to help blacks, whether in the days of slavery or much more recently.  And there are countless other such tales of selfless bravery.

Today, many young people are developing Gay-Straight Alliances in their schools and communities.  It’s a very beautiful thing.  Kids with nothing to gain for themselves are uniting to support others in their quest for validation, acceptance, and even safety.  This has never happened before with this population, and those who create and join these groups deserve all our respect.

But that doesn’t mean they always get it.  You ask, Athny, how others will react.  Well, if no one was going to react badly, there wouldn’t be any need for the GSA!  I can’t guarantee what will happen, but the odds are that the members of this group will get some harassment from some who disapprove of what they’re doing.  This might come in the form of name-calling, or defacement of property, or even violence.

But most likely, in most cases, that won’t happen.  And you know why?  Because what you’re doing is right.  And they’ll know it.

Homophobia, just like Racism and Sexism, is an act of fear, acted by people who want to hold power over others.  So when those people face a group who support the rights they’re attacking, they usually back off.  The same cowardice that made them bullies in the first place now makes them shy away from conflict.

Again, it won’t happen with everyone; you can guess that you’ll get some flack from some people, especially when you first start this group.  But if your project catches on, you’ll find that the more members you get, the less trouble you’ll catch.

So unless you’re actually afraid of physical violence, Athny (and I’m always urging my friends to stay safe, regardless of their goals), I say to go for it.  Be part of the changes that are making the world a better and fairer place.  Whether you succeed or fail, you’ll have so much to be proud of as your life goes forward!

And this dog bows to you for your bravery and your ambition.  Well-done!






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