Gay-Straight Alliances on the Rise in Utah

Gay-Straight Alliances are on the rise in Utah, reports The New York Times. 30 new clubs sprung up in the conservative state in 2010. 

In 2009, there were 9 Gay-Straight Alliances in all of Utah. In addition, 10 districts have enacted anti-discrimination policies, reports The Huffington Post

The quest for Gay-Straight Alliances has been an uphill battle for Utah students. A law passed in 2007 requires parental permission to join and dictates the topics deemed “appropriate.” Students may not discuss sexuality or contraception, even if the discussion is centered around preventing STI’s. Still, students have been attending the clubs, focusing more on “making friends and planning events,” according to an educator who spoke to The New York Times.

It is impressive that LGBT youth and their straight allies have fought so hard against a state that, in 1997, banned all extracurricular clubs in an attempt to squash a Gay-Straight Alliance. 

Utah has worked extremely hard to silence the voices of LGBT youth, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Despite statements like “I just don’t think these clubs are appropriate in schools. You can talk about providing support, but you’re also creating a gay recruiting tool” by the president of the Utah Eagle Forum, the teens are not backing down. 

They were, however, disheartened when a number of parents running for the St. George school board spoke out against the GSA and urged parents not to allow their children to participate. 

Luckily the GSAs of Utah have the Utah Pride Center behind them. The Utah Pride Center helps find and train student organizers as well as hosting events like Gay Prom. 

Executive Director Valerie Larabee told The Huffington Post, “These GSAs are wonderful, safe, open and affirming environments where young people can just be who they are. That’s a rare space for some youth, particularly in a conservative, religious state.” 

Hopefully the number of GSAs in Utah will only increase in 2011.

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Photo thanks to Cary Bass via Flickr

83 comments

Marianne Good
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks

Marianne Good
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

Here in Austin, we have straights working with gays, for their civil rights. Not only do many straights support gay rights, but it is also the faster way to make changes in our society. Gays alone, face many obstacles to getting change done, and it helps when straight people stand up for them, with them, publicly, with no personal interest in the cause, except a desire to see universal civil rights for all.

It is wrong that any class of people, because they are not the majority, to be denied civil rights. They are U.S. citizens, they work, pay taxes, serve in the military, love, enjoy life -- see? they are you and I. Next time there is a gay event, go, and make yourself a part, and if there is media, speak out as to why you're there -- a straight person for equal civil rights. This is how we help our gay sisters and brothers (all LGBT) to enjoy their lives in the U.S. of A.

Lika S.
Lika S.5 years ago

God created. It doesn't say God only created straight. Anyway, we're all children of the planet. Lets hope that progress moves forward.

donald baumgartner

I BELEIVE IN A LOVING GOD, WHO LOVES ALL HIS CHILDREN, GAY OR STRAIGHT!! { or WHATEVER!!].

donald baumgartner

AARON BAKER- GIVE IT A REST!!

Rachel Taylor
Rachel Baldes5 years ago

This is good news.
And Aaron Baker...You are the Abomination. And you will be judged for it. In this lifetime and the next.

Charlene R.
Charlene Rush5 years ago

Any state that permits a religion to dictate government policies and curriculum, can expect its citizens to rebel, eventually.

Our younger generations will be our salvation. They ususlly are.

There isn't enough money to get me to move to Utah. If we lose our personal freedom to religious zealots, we have NOTHING.

April Gray
April Gray5 years ago

i know lots of gay people & have never seen any "recruiting" going on. sheesh, do people really believe that can happen? do they believe in cooties too?

monica r.
monica r.5 years ago

Well, that is good news!