We are the Indian Mound Middle School Gay Straight Alliance! We have been meeting twice a month for four years. We include sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students among our members.
We always start with food. Our advisors, Mr. Kinnaman and Mrs. Colle, make sure to have great treats for us. Ice cream, fruit, cookies, water, and juice are a few of the snacks we have started our meetings with. As we eat, we goof around a bit, say hello to GSA members who we do not see in class every day, and just be ourselves. Alanah says, “GSA is a place where I can be myself without being judged.” Kynaeda adds, “GSA is a place that I can feel accepted, no matter my orientation.”
After dancing around a bit and eating our snack, Mrs. Colle or Mr. Kinnaman often start the meeting with some current events that relate to the LGBTQ community. We have great discussions and help each other out if someone is not familiar with a topic or has not kept up with the news. The rest of the meeting is spent getting ready for events or helping our advisors plan new events.
We spent many meetings working to change our annual Day of Silence event to what we now call Stand Up Week. We made a YouTube video that explained why we changed the Day of Silence to Stand Up Week. The video was shown to all students as part of our morning announcements. We wanted students to stand up and speak out for what they feel is right rather than be quiet all day. We handed out 370 rainbow ribbons to students and staff to wear during Stand Up Week along with sharing some sad facts from the Dane County Youth Survey about bullying and the increase of suicide among LGBTQ students when compared to heterosexual students.
This year we sponsored a Hat Day at school when students could pay a dollar to wear a hat at school the day before winter break. We raised 90 dollars—half of the money went to the McFarland Food Pantry and the other half went toward buying ribbons for Stand Up Week.
In April, we took our money from Hat Day to the McFarland Food Pantry, where the director gave us a tour and explained how a food pantry helps local families. We wish we could have stayed longer, but we were only able to spend half an hour. We really enjoyed the food pantry and hope to go back next year and volunteer.
In the spring we had two more events. We made root beer floats after school as a fundraiser. Our local Culver’s donated frozen custard, cups, and spoons. In May, six of us attended the GSAFE banquet in Madison.
Why do we like the GSA? The members say:
“Because they send off a great message that people should be heard.” “GSA is a place where I can be myself without being judged.” “Because it is awesome!”
Why the GSA is important to me:
“GSA is a place where you get support,” and “Because I want to change the law.”
What I hope to help change at our school:
“I would like it to be a place where I can open up without being judged,” and “I want people to stop calling each other ‘faggot’ and making ‘gay’ into something bad.”
Why do you come to the GSA?
“Food, support, entertainment, friends, fun,” and “An every other weekly dose of hilarity, the supportive people, the T-shirts!”
What we do?
“We try to spread the word that people are people no matter their orientation.”