January 25th is National GSA Day! GSA Day was created in 2006 when Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack declared October 25th “Iowa Gay-Straight Alliance Day” to honor the accomplishments of youth-led Gay-Straight Alliance groups. Since then, Iowa Pride Network has put on “Iowa Gay-Straight Alliance Day” each year. Over time, more and more states have wanted to join and this year the celebration has become a national event!
PFLAG National is proud to be partnering with National GSA Day to honor over 3,000 Gay-Straight Alliance groups across the country who have provided safe spaces for LGBT students and their allies while working to end violence, homophobia, transphobia, and hate in their schools. When schools have a GSA, incidences of verbal harassment are 10-25% less likely to occur, physical assault is 23% less likely to happen, and students are 15-23% less likely to miss school because they feel unsafe.
These school assemblies represent an important bond between LGBT individuals and their straight friends, teachers, and community members. “Americans need to know that thousands of students each day go to school or college and endure LGBT violence and harassment” says the GSA Day website. “They must also know that GSAs are a tool in helping end violence, and that these student groups save lives.” A toolkit is available online for free, and helps student groups plan their own GSA Days at their schools.
Though the National GSA Day events usually take place at schools and colleges, all allies are able to participate! You can show your support by being a visible ally at work or amongst friends, by making fliers about the Day’s purpose, or writing thank you notes to the supportive educators in your community. These suggestions, and many more, can be found on National GSA Day’s website in their section for Adults.