With new administration, new leaders, and new sponsors, West’s Gay Straight Alliance expects to flourish this year and reach more people.
Senior Dylan Brendel, the new president of the GSA, has been a part of the club since he was a freshmen and now feels ready to take over the club with his fellow leaders. “I am the president of GSA right now…me and the two other people in charge of the club take equal share of the group, though”, he says.
Amanda Jeffries, a sponsor of GSA, holds excitement for her first year as the sponsor. Jeffries’ enthusiasm is partially due to getting to work with Brendel and his dedication to the club. “The students run the club and come up with the topics…Dylan and the others really do a great job of leading the group,” she says.
Senior Macy Gaeth, the secretary of the GSA, is also excited to take on this year. “I’m hoping for everyone to make good progress so that [the club] will be in good hands when [the seniors] leave”, she says.
Jeffries’ and Brendel’s goals are very similar: they both want people to feel welcome and loved when they walk through the door. “[GSA] makes you feel like you have someone to talk to and like you have a voice…because of that some people have now been able to accept who they are”, he says.
“For me, is that people feel welcome and included when they come into my classroom. I want them to feel like this is a safe place where they can speak their mind and share concerns, as well as get support from other students and teachers in the school who may be having similar issues”, Jeffries says.
To help achieve his goals of acceptance, Brendel has already contacted the new administrator at West. “One thing [GSA] has already done is talked to Dr. Hertzog about gender neutral bathrooms…hopefully we can get something along those lines…”, he says.
Along with his goals, Brendel hopes to impact the school as a whole, as well. “I definitely think there are a lot of positive things going on in the school…I think a lot of that comes from more people being involved in GSA and being more accepting in general”, he says.
Brendel’s personal goal is to effect the school by allowing more boys to realize it’s okay to like more “feminine” things and that it’s okay to wear makeup, even for a boy.
Brendel believes a common misconception about the club, for parents and students alike, is that the club is just for LGBT+. However, Brendel stresses the importance of having straight people in the Gay Straight Alliance.
“It helps us by getting more people in the conversation and the club…we’re also able to get different input from them”, he says.