Record editorial: South Summit Gay-Straight Alliance can accelerate progress
A group of students at South Summit High School has an awful lot to be proud of this fall.
That’s because they, with help from a few supportive adults in the community, have successfully launched the school’s first Gay-Straight Alliance. Mere weeks into its existence, the club, which is open to all students regardless of sexual or gender identity, already has more than a dozen members and is making its presence known in the school.
Being willing to take a bold step like starting a GSA would be an intimidating task for anyone, much less teenagers already dealing with the myriad day-to-day challenges of adolescence. We applaud the students for their courage, and we urge their peers at the high school, as well as community members throughout the Kamas Valley, to enthusiastically support the effort.
The mission of the club is simple: to provide a safe place for LGBT students at what can often be a challenging time in their lives. The evidence is clear that having access to such a resource is significant — and potentially life saving. A 2016 study, for instance, found that LGBT teens whose schools have GSAs are drastically less likely to be bullied. Other research draws a line between GSAs and decreased suicide rates for both gay and straight students.
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It’s encouraging that those involved with South Summit’s GSA say reaction to the club has been positive so far. That’s likely a reflection of the fact the Kamas Valley, like nearly everywhere else in the nation, continues to become more supportive of LGBT rights. But, also like nearly everywhere else in the nation — even left-leaning Park City — there is always room for progress.
Hopefully, the club will become an accelerant for it. In addition to serving as a haven where teens can be themselves, the GSA’s visible presence on campus may bridge the gap between LGBT students and their peers and, ultimately, help transform the Kamas Valley into a place of acceptance for young people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
In 2019, that is something every community should be striving for. Getting there would be something to be proud of, indeed.
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