Westside shows support to LGBTQ through Ally Week

October 10, 2017

Once a year, there is an abundance of rainbow found in the halls of Westside. In support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) community, Westside holds an Ally week. This is a week dedicated to showing support and acceptance for the LGBTQ community, as well as sharing what allies are and what they can do. It is organized by the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Club, and gives students and staff a chance to convey their support.

The week of September 25, students participated by signing a pledge to be an ally. They received a rainbow ribbon made by GSA, and also had the opportunity to buy rainbow lanyards and buttons. One of the club leaders, junior Tommy Rowe, thinks it is an important week to have in school.

“This is our school saying, ‘hey, we support you, this is a safe place,’” Rowe said.

Club advisor, Liz Dittrick, says both GSA and ally week are there to help the students, both in and out of the LGBTQ community.

“I think it’s really important for all students to feel safe in the school and to feel like they are accepted no matter what their stand is,” Dittrick said.

A lot of the time, issues like these are unaddressed in schools or society in general. Many places are not guaranteed safe spaces. Another club leader, senior Sam Sweeney, believes ally week serves a good purpose.

“It brings awareness to the issue that this kind of discrimination still happens daily even in places that are supposed to be safe like schools,” Sweeney said.

Through ally week and other events, GSA tries to create these safe spaces, and reinforce acceptance throughout the school.  

“The GSA club is not just meant for students who are part of the LGBTQIA community, it’s also for allies, so anyone can be a part of that club,” Dittrick said. “The main goal of that club is acceptance and also education.”

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