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GSA Spotlight

By Staff Writer Jada Daniels

Graphics by Jasmine Matchawate

A few Wednesdays every year, students are given the opportunity to meet with their clubs.There are a wide variety of clubs available. Some are both popular among the student body and nationally accredited such as National Honor Society, while others are little known and in the process of a revival. One such club is Timberline’s Gay Straight Alliance Club, or, GSA.  

As required by the district, each club must be hosted by a staff member and held in their classroom. New teacher and GSA’s advisor, Crystal Garcia, is both passionate and well versed in facilitating conversation on issues in the LGBTQ+ community. “I used to work at all the middle schools that we had, in [those] other schools that I worked at, we didn’t have a GSA, we started those in the last five years.” said Garcia. She has been pivotal in the club’s ability to remain active this year, following the move of its previous advisor. “I heard that they were not going to have a GSA this year because they couldn’t find a staff sponsor, and I couldn’t imagine Timberline without a GSA. That’s when I became the advisor.”

Student involvement is the other key to understanding GSA. Club member and junior Kenzie Brenneis saw a need at Timberline and took the initiative to fill it. “I’ve been attending Pizza Klatch for the last two and a half years, and a bunch of people [there] said they wish there was a bigger outlet. [Some] people, their parents just don’t allow them to go, or they don’t feel comfortable going [to Pizza Klatch].” She has occupied a leadership role in the club, working to impart her vision by uniting students of all genders and sexual orientations. “She’s our acting president and really filled that role. Kenzie hunted me down, she was very adamant that we [would] have a GSA.” said Garcia on Brenneis’ work. “The club’s purpose is to be a safe space, whether you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual- straight. A space for you to feel included and like you have someone to talk to.” said Brenneis. Early on those Wednesdays, GSA members can be found doing activities that allow them to get to know each other, educate themselves on social issues, and plan for the future of the club. “The first club was kind of a get to know each other- we went around and said names, pronouns, and how we found the club. A big thing we’ve talked about is a fundraiser. Then we will figure out how to spend the money whether that means we’ll go to the Glisten Conference in Seattle, or figure out how to get needs for students in here.”

Next club day instead of giving yourself a late start- give GSA a try! Brenneis leaves this invitation for any potential new members, “Every club day we meet in room 105, and it’s a place where you can express yourself, share your pronouns, and ideas, and make it whatever you want it to be. The set rules are: be kind to each other and respect each other’s sexuality!”.