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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Gay-Straight Alliance Network

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Lesbian & Gay Rights, LGBTQ

Mission: Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a youth leadership organization that connects school-based Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) to each other and community resources. Through peer support, leadership development, and training, GSA Network supports young people in starting, strengthening, and sustaining GSAs and builds the capacity of GSAs to: 1. create safe environments in schools for students to support each other and learn about homophobia and other oppressions, 2. educate the school community about homophobia, gender identity, and sexual orientation issues, and 3. fight discrimination, harassment, and violence in schools.

Results: In the past ten years, GSA Network has: ...Grown the network of GSA clubs in California from 40 clubs to over 7000 clubs, representing over 50% of the state's high schools. ...Provided training and support to over 10,000 youth activists and organizers across the state. ...Played a leadership role in grassroots organizing for the passage of ground-breaking, statewide legislation, AB 537: The California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. ...Achieved a critical victory as plaintiff in the first lawsuit filed under AB 537; the three-year settlement agreement required the Visalia schools to enact sweeping reforms including mandatory teacher and student trainings. ...Helped build the GSA Movement nationwide by coordinating the National Association of GSA Networks, providing technical assistance and support to GSA organizers across the country.

Target demographics: We train and empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexed, queer, questioning and straight ally youth in middle schools and high schools to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools! We serve GSA activists of every race, income, ability, religion and background.

Geographic areas served: USA

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 1

This organization suffers from sever lack of leadership support and founder's syndrome. They lack consideration of their employees. No one should give this organization money or support!!!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Growing up black and gay in South Los Angeles, wasn't exactly the easiest thing to do. The GSA at my school influenced my life tremendously, I joined the GSA at a pivotal moment in my development which really helped me after i graduated. The acceptance and knowledge that the group provided me with allowed who i was on the inside to finally stand up and show himself on the outside. It inspired me to become an advocate in my community to ensure that other LGBT youth would have a voice as well as role model that looks like them. Thank you GSA!!!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i am a youth involved with gsa network and volunteering with GSA network gave me a community. The people there care about me, and do so much to make sure that every person is comfortable and has their needs met while at traings. The work they do has amazing impact in schools and other communities, too. GSA network's help has definitely greatly increased how confident and comfortable I feel at school, not to mention making me a much more confident speaker and leader. GSA network is one of if not the thing in my life that I actually really like.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Connecting youth and offering the tools they need to make schools and other spaces safer for LGBTQ youth

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

GSA Network continues to do innovative work with youth and students--their impact is lasting as generations of young leaders further the message and movement of LGBT equality.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

GSAN is amazing! This organization has helped me so much in accepting myself. To go along with that it also gave me a major confidence boost and helped me develop leadership skills that I never had before. This organization has helped so many people and connected numerous lives together to create amazing friendships. I don't know where I would be without the GSAN.

Jenny P.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I cannot express how grateful I am for GSA network. As a 16 year old they helped me start a GSA at my high school. Today I am honored to serve as a board member. I continue to do the work by being an advisor at the high school where I teach and by serving the community through my masters research.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

GSA Network has been a leader in supporting LGBTQ and straight ally youth to create positive social change in their schools for years. I have known GSA Network for more than a decade - as a researcher I have been impressed by them because they have been an organization that consistently seeks to study / understand their impact -and adjust their strategies to best meet the needs of youth. They were talking about the role of youth in leading social change long before it was common in the field - and were essentially the first LGBTQ organization to take this lead. And their knowledge / collaboration with scholars has contributed to basic as well as practical knowledge about LGBTQ youth and youth development.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My experience with GSA Network has been incredible, and life changing to say the least, from the moment I started working with them. I knew little about myself, and found myself into a depression where the internet was my only escape away from the oppression I had at home and in my hometown. It was through there that I heard about Day of Silence, Harvey Milk Day, and this grand organization called Gay-Straight Alliance Network. In the spring time, I applied to an event called GAYLA, and surprisingly was accepted. I knew nobody from the moment I came in, and four days later left knowing more about myself than I ever had, as well as with life long friendships. Few months later, I was asked to be a regional trainer, as well as sent a board of directors application, and my expectations for myself went flying for the roof. GSA Network does everything possible to make sure transportation is available for you, as well as moving any accommodations needed for you to understand what is going on at the time. Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a really great and empowering non-profit, especially the diversity it has and I cannot wait to see how even greater it turns out to be in the future!!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am constantly impressed with the youth I meet through GSA Network. GSA Network trains them to be leaders, activist and change agents. It gives me hope for the next generation. Whether they are starting clubs at their school or lobbying at Sacramento, I think how lucky they are to have these experiences so early in their lives. I have great hope that they will continue to speak up and out. I also know that many other states have looked to GSA Network to help give them guidance to start statewide coalitions.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My 21 year old daughter grew up at GSA Network. As a teen (after coming out to us) she got involved with the many wonderful programs offered by GSA Network. She was a summer intern and member of their youth councils, She helped as a trainer, attending the national gathering of GSA-related organizations, and ended her amazing tenure as a youth board member. Through the leadership opportunities and from the mentorship of the incredibly talented staff, our daughter flourished. She is now a happy, confident senior in college--in large part because of GSA Network's warm and steady support. Our family is forever grateful. I now serve on the board as a proud mom of a GSA Network alum :o)

Brenda26

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Even as a little girl, I knew that I was attracted to females, and not to males, but I also knew that it wasn't accepted with my family. Years I hid that fact that the boys I would speak about to my mom, were never boys at all. I would have to listen to my parents and brother go on about how much they loath the LGBTQ community, and it got so bad that I wasn't even allowed to listen to my favorite group, Tegan and Sara, just because they were proud lesbians. My father burned shirts and broke CD's just because it was related to them. 15 years of hiding who I was, was beginning to break me down. I felt like no one was going to be there for me. No one would ever accept me for who I was. No one would ever love me. I fell into a deep depression, that my mother couldn't understand. I was yelled at and threatened each day to reveal what was wrong with me, but the fear of losing my family was too much for me, so I was not able to tell them, instead i kept it a secret for another 2 years. The day I turned 18 I knew I had to change. I was considered an adult in my parents eyes, so I decided they would be able to listen and talk to me in a adult manner. It was a Sunday in late January of this year, I sat my parents down and told them, they had to listen to me, let me finish, and then they could object or do whatever they would like to do. What happened, was not at all what I had even expected. My father was so filled with rage that he kicked me out of the house. My mother fought to keep me, but she lost. Alone and depressed, I walked around my city till I grew tired and ended up sleeping on a park bench. There I met the sweetest guy ever. He to was gay, but the difference was his family not only accepted it, they were proud to say he was gay. Well anyways, his name was Danny Garcia, he offered me a place to stay and to this day I'm still living with him. He also introduced me to our school GSA, and there although it took some time, I was able to accept my fate, and instead of being a mopey mope, I made friends, I shared my story with other club members, and Danny began to tell me all about the GSA network, and how they fight for what we have the right to have, and not only are they adults, they're students from all over the place. They put themselves in positions that people like me, from a small little city, appreciate so much, because they speak up, not only for themselves, but for the entire LGBTQ community. They give hope, they give love, they give life to people who are gay, bi, lesbian, transgender, they gave ME my life back. All it was, was a small group of guys and girls that couldn't even have gathered together to help, had it not been for the GSA network.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

This agency struggles with oppression in the internal workings and the board refuses to take action. Many ex-employees have written to the board to change the leadership of this organization and they still do not take action.

Review from Guidestar

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I believe that GSAs in schools have helped me the most. I never understood how much hatred and discrimination there was against gays until I joined GSA in my high school 2 years ago. After becoming president of it last year and having to deal with many issues head-on, I realized that we all need to be more proactive in encouraging equal rights and protection to all.