Middle school students launch new Gay-Straight Alliance club


Carly Kinning

Eighth grader Jaedyn Brockway and sophomore Cassidy Gabbert play a game at the high school GSA meeting. The two clubs came together in a collaborative meeting and a memory game.

Casey Metcalf, Staff Writer

The Gay-Straight Alliance has been reinstated this year at the high school after lying dormant for a few years and many students were thrilled to see it come back. But even with its all-inclusive nature, eighth grade students are not allowed to come over to the high school building to join the club.

Eighth grade student Jaedyn Brockway is not satisfied with waiting until next year to join, so she decided to start the middle school’s first GSA club and make it open to all of the students at the middle school.”I was always jealous that [JHS] had one and I couldn’t go,” she said.

The GSA at the high school came back this year and has since swelled to approximately 30 members. But with none of these being eighth graders, Brockway began to feel a little excluded, especially since she believes that the middle school needs it more. “[We] need the GSA because people hate on other people because of their sexualities,” Brockway said. “I think it might be worse than the high school because everyone is immature, and less people are out of the closet.”

Lisa Boge, a counselor at the middle school, helped Brockway start the GSA and is the club’s sponsor. “The idea for a [middle school] GSA section started because we had some eighth graders interested in being part of GSA,” she said. “However, it was only for 9-12 graders. That was not giving the eighth grade students a voice and a place to be part of a club that they wanted to join.” Boge also noted that some of the ninth graders that wanted to join were not comfortable going to the high school for the club, so the idea of starting the GSA at the middle school was not too far-fetched.

As the president, Brockway has a specific way she would like the GSA to work. “I want it to be very structured,” she said. “Not jumping all over the place, I want to cover topic-by-topic so that everyone understands and gets a chance to talk about it.” She also pictures the GSA collaborating with the high school club from time-to-time. “I would be very interested in [collaborating]. I hope that at some point we will be able to do that.”

Since the middle school GSA will have a younger demographic, they might not be able to tackle some of the things that the high school GSA is able to. The high school GSA plans on going to events and being active in the LGBTQ+ community, but as for the middle school, Brockway has a different mission. “I see the GSA bringing support to the people that are out or are wanting to come out, and don’t feel comfortable yet,” she said.

Another member, freshman Destiny Hindman, felt similarly about the club and the need for it at the middle school building. “Having the GSA at the middle school will be great for the eighth graders who don’t get to join the high school GSA,” she said. “Everyone needs to know they belong whether it would be in GSA or even some other club.”

Boge has a similar idea of what the GSA will do for students at the middle school. “I think that this club is good for all students who want to belong to something and can have great discussions about LGBTQ issues,” Boge said. “The goal of the group is to educate and support everyone.”