Gender and Sexuality Alliance welcomes all


Sophia Puzon

A pride flag hangs up in Ms. Murphy’s classroom. She, along with other BHS teachers has hung up pride flags to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community and to encourage a safe space where students can feel comfortable about their identity.

Sophia Puzon, Senior Reporter

The Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club serves as a safe space for LGBTQ+ and allied students to speak about issues that impact LGBTQ+ youth in their schools and communities. At Burlingame, the GSA club aims to support underrepresented voices on campus.

“I think it’s just really important to have a community. It’s nice to have a place where you can relate to people,” senior and GSA club president Sawyer Fair said. “It was a place [where] I felt very comfortable being myself, and I thought that was really important to keep doing for the younger grades — that’s why I decided to be president.” 

GSA has helped students in the past break out of their shells and become more comfortable with their gender and sexual identity. The club does so by raising awareness of LGBTQ+ issues, largely through annual events such as the Day of Silence.

“[The Day of Silence] acknowledges all of the LGBTQ+ people who have been silenced throughout history and haven’t had the opportunity to come out and live their lives as an LGBTQ+ person,” Fair said. “You remain silent until 12 [a.m.], and then there’s normally a big celebration of breaking the silence and celebrating your life.” 

The club also organizes weekly meetings during October — LGBTQ+ history month — educating students on the significance and importance of historical figures who have made a difference in LGBTQ+ acceptance. 

“We also try to educate and help the larger BHS community,” Fair said, “because we have a long way to go in making it not difficult for queer kids at school.”

In light of Burlingame’s history of homophobia and transphobia — notably, the hate-motivated vandalism that occurred in 2019 — Fair sees serious room for improvement when it comes to supporting LGBTQ+ students. To eradicate lingering discrimination, it is essential to establish true allyship within the student body, Fair said. 

“I feel like there’s this new idea of allyship where people are trying so hard to be allies that they end up speaking over queer people,” Fair said. “And I think it’s really important for straight people, cis[gender] people and everyone to be welcome at GSA meetings. We’d love to have you, and I think the most important thing is remembering to listen to others and follow their guidance instead of just speaking over them.”

Outside of GSA, there is an abundance of resources one can use to educate themself and learn more about LGBTQ+ communities. However, according to GSA advisor Eislyn Wolf, students should remember to respect their LGBTQ+ friends as they become more educated.