Club highlights awareness, allies

Club Focus – GSA


Image by Rosy from Pixabay

Activities and meetings are open for all.

The Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) club meets up in E-3 every Tuesday at lunch. The Executive Members of the club are Milan McCane and Amanda Johnston as Chairpersons, and RJ Tanimoto and Mayah Monzano as Secretary/Treasurers. “Our mission is to be inclusive of all students, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation, and it also includes straight students who are allies,” said Ms. Vanessa Walling-Sisi, the adviser for GSA. “The goal is to support social and emotional learning and provide them a safe place at Armijo.”

The club does a variety of activities such as Day of Silence (traditionally on the second Friday of April), Trans Visibility Day (March 31), fundraisers, field trips and many more. At the beginning of the school year Ms. Sisi distributes and gives a flyer to every teacher on campus that says: “This a safe place to be yourself” and asks them to place it in the classroom and enforce it, “so if you hear any anti-LGBTQ slurs or anything in your classroom, make sure that it stops, to make your room a safe place,” she said. She has always had teachers hang them up and never had people rebel against them.

In the fall, they made a poster campaign to stop hate speech and it included statistics and information about using hate speech. They also included the effectiveness of GSA in schools, citing that it improves attendance and lowers suicide rates. Those are concrete examples that having a public visible presence helps students feel accepted.

“I have been here for 24 years and I don’t hear people say ‘That’s so gay!’ or calling each other the f-slur or using insults as much, I think it’s been kind of socially rejected and I think that has a lot to do with people feeling empowered to say ‘Stop saying that’ or ‘That’s bigotry’,”  she said.

If you would like to know more about Armijo’s GSA, visit