GSA overcomes prejudices throughout the years


Avery Neal

GSA Sponsor Leah Black talks with GSA members in the OHS Library.

While many students have heard of Oakville’s GSA, not everyone knows the hard-won victory of it’s beginning. In 2007, the club was started by freshman Johanna Brown with the help of Mr. Ed Taylor.

“We had to do some fighting for it,” Taylor said. “The central office was blocking the idea of a GSA. I ended up getting the union involved, and we had a meeting with the superintendent, the assistant superintendent, and principals from both highschools. 

However, problems with the administration were not the club’s only struggle. They also faced prejudice from the staff.

“It was an uphill battle because there were some faculty too that were opposed to it,” Taylor said. “I would have teachers around the building keep an eye on signs; we would post signs about meetings, and they would be ripped off. We finally put a sign underneath those signs saying ‘this is why we need a GSA.’” 

Since their beginning, the Gay Straight Alliance, now Gender and Sexuallity Alliance,  has been fighting for their voices to be heard. Every year, the group celebrates the Transgender Remembrance Day. 

“Essentially, it’s a day that we have as a memorial for those who have died, or murdered really, by people for being transgender,” said current co-sponser Mrs. Leah Black. “We usually read their names, we have a little vigil, and we have a moment of silence. We talk about what it must be like for their families and people that loved them.”

In the spring, the group also participates in the Day of Silence. 

“We vow to be quiet and not talk for those people who were silenced, you know who weren’t able to really speak up for themselves, who might have been bullied. Obviously we’re kind of focusing on more of the LGBTQ community,” Black said. 

Through their work throughout the school and community, GSA has inspired students to take a stand.

“I like advocacy and activism now,” GSA member Noa Glover (11) said. “I wasn’t really into that freshman year cause I was too scared to do it, but now I’m a lot more comfortable.”

From being able to change names in the school system, to a more accepting faculty and student body, things have changed at Oakville for the better.

“The faculty is a lot more on board now, and the student body is a lot more accepting. I haven’t seen signs be ripped down. In 14 years, the student body has become more accepting of LGBTQ,” Taylor said.

Over the years, many things have changed. But GSA stays strong in voicing the needs of the few and many.

“It’s kinda my passion. I really love working with the students that are in the club,” Black said. “I think it’s really important for them to have a voice.”