First ever Gay-Straight Alliance club sparks controversy among LGBTQ+ students

Traditionally, clubs have been a place for students to come together with other students who have similar interests or passions, and participate in something they love. Clubs can range from the Harry Potter Club to the Young Republicans Club. This year, art teacher, Betsy Kryeziu, created the school’s first ever GSA Club. GSA stands for Gay-Straight Alliance, according to members of the club, it is a student led club created to make a more welcoming atmosphere throughout the school. 

“Anybody and everybody is welcome to participate in GSA,” Kryezui said. “It is an alliance between our gay and straight students, and it can add protection and respect for everyone here at Har- Ber.” 

Kryezui’s goal for this club is to help students feel welcomed and comfortable in their own skin. She believes that having students who feel comfortable with themselves can provide a better learning environment in their school. 

Sophomore Davian Cruz loves the club because he believes it’s inclusive of all students, including those who are a part of the LGBT community or those who are straight. Cruz says he wanted to be a part of starting this club to create a good environment for those at school. 

“It’s inclusive, it’s fun, and there’s a good environment,” Cruz said. “ The GSA club is fun, especially for me, since I get to see so many new and different people.” 

One of Cruz’s goals is to ensure that everyone in the club is joining for the right reasons. He says it’s important that the students in this club feel comfortable and are taking it seriously.

“I’m just making sure that the students are being allies, are taking it seriously, and are being respectful, which might be the biggest thing,” Cruz said. “ We are also making sure that everyone’s there for the right reasons and not to bring anyone down.”

A few students had expressed doubts about the intentions of this club’s creation, and some have pointed out that there was an imbalance between LGBTQ+ students and straight students. 

“I left this club because I didn’t like the imbalance of straight to queer students,” an anonymous student said. “There were more straight than there were queer students, and it just felt a little tough to open up about certain things.” 

Although they might have doubts, this student does support the idea of having a club where LGBT+ students can feel comfortable opening up about their situations. 

“I hope [the club] stays true to its word.” the student said, “I hope that they can create a safe place for students to create alliances, and an all around better atmosphere.”

When Cruz heard of these concerns, he made it very clear that he would not take these feelings lightly, and would take all the necessary precautions to ensure that all students feel comfortable being a part of this club.

“We will take the necessary precautions to make sure that everybody feels included and safe,” Cruz said. “It was the first week of clubs, so obviously there might be some confusion.”

Cruz encourages all students to participate in the GSA club, in hopes to form an alliance between the LGBTQ+ and straight students in order to take on other issues that are outside of the LGBTQ+ community. 

“Don’t be afraid to join,” Cruz said. “There were a bunch of people who were scared to join, but after talking and introducing ourselves, we created the best energy and had so much fun. I hope all students here at Har- Ber join.”