chapter  20
13 Pages

Access and Obstacles: Gay–Straight Alliances Attempt to Alter School Communities

ByCRIS MAYO

Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) highlight the ethical and political work public school students engage in to improve school climate for sexual minority youth and allies, even when traditional sources of authority, such as school leaders, policy, teachers, and curricula fail to do so (Lee, 2003; Mayo, 2004; Perrotti & Westfi eld, 2001; Walker, 2004). Although there is substantial legal precedent supporting the right of their groups to organize in public schools, GSAs may still fi nd themselves initially without school support and so spend much of their time organizing to change school and district policies in order to ensure that they may continue to meet. GSAs, then, provide sexual minority and ally students with space in the school but also remind them of how much work they have to do to make the entire school community supportive of LGBT-related social justice issues.