Constituting a change


Mic Grimes

Junior, Mic Grimes and others support the S.A.F.E “Have a Gay Day” Pride Rally.

Kaelin Collar, Editor-in-Chief

Although distance learning has been difficult for most, staff and students indulge the Barlow community and grew itself in the origination of the Gender-Sexuality Alliance, otherwise known as the GSA club. GSA club is a student and staff run organization to unite LGBTQIA+ and allies to build a communal foundation circulating issues impacting them in school and community.

“The admin at Barlow has made it important that all students have a voice and feel supported. GSA is an extension of that support and, for that, we are grateful,” mentions English teacher and ally, Jason Jenkins.

In previous years, Jenkins ran a GSA club called ‘Pride Alliance’ as his last school in East Los Angeles which grew to great success. The club allowed students to go to conferences, camps, work for advocacy, and ultimately develop lifelong friendships among each other. Barlow has had a GSA club, but Jenkins and fellow staff originator, Lauren Duncan have given it more recognition and a voice this current year.

“GSA has provided me with a safe space where we can come together in solidarity through our shared experiences. It has been an amazing support group where we can express how we feel. But also works to create space for youth to empower themselves and provide leadership opportunities,” mentions junior and GSA President, Eli Leadham.

As Leadham feels safe within GSA, the club has given them and others a safe environment to cope through challenges, while currently processing ways to branch out in more advocacy through ensuring the students have the necessary resources and support for their own identity.

“At the core of GSA is community and it has been such an amazing way to cope through so many struggles. But we are currently in the process of branching out to more advocacy related work. With the end goal of ensuring that students have the necessary support and resources they need in such a trying time. So, we are planning on getting even more involved in our local community to increase the general welfare of LGBTQ+ youth,” announces Leadham.

Admittedly, Leadham and the club have ideal aspirations for the future of GSA at Barlow, but a school that claims the idolization of students, especially towards athletics, has made it difficult for Queer encouragement and an emphasis of change. 

“There is quite a bit of work to be done at Barlow in terms of showing students that they can be themselves even if they aren’t ‘straight.’ Tolerance is a challenge for many teenagers, particularly when they are questioning and forging their own identities. My goal is to promote the GSA at Barlow to show students that there are Queer people that are in our world, in our city, on the Barlow staff, and in our student body, and that’s ok,“ alleges Jenkins.

GSA is a group that supports all students regardless of their gender, sexuality, or other designation, and regardless of their achievable future, and the respect given from the student body is a good first step to giving GSA members the safe space they desire. High school has painted a picture to students as “the best 4 years of a person’s life,” but how can it withstand its canvas when the student body, staff, and the overall atmosphere has created a feeling of ridicule and, frankly, homophobia. Barlow and it’s community is one of the most spirited schools for athletics and pep-rallies, so there is the expectation of change and develop a secure faction.

 So, whether you’re searching for a safe and encouraging place or an ally, GSA welcomes all and meets every Tuesday at noon, feel free to email Duncan or Jenkins for the meeting information and of course follow their Instagram! @Sambarlowgsa