The GSA is making waves at Bellefonte

Emma Homan, Feature News Director

Bellefonte’s GSA club made a push for gender identity inclusivity and recognition this past month. GSA stands for Gay-Straight Alliance, or in some areas Gender-Sexuality Alliance, and is a club targeted primarily towards LGBTQ students and their allies at Bellefonte Area High School. 

On February 11, the club set up a stand outside of the cafeteria before school started to hand out pins with varying pronoun sets on them to spread inclusivity and normalize the use of pronoun identification, something becoming more common in recent years. 

Pronouns are an integral part of the transgender community, and in turn, have a place within general LGBTQ spaces. Even cis-gendered, that is, people who identify with their assigned gender at birth, people have been putting pronouns in social media bios, on their bags, and on jackets and t-shirts alike. But why?

Transgender people cannot always “pass” as their preferred gender, and some do not have future plans of forcing that change either, whether due to financial constraints or personal choice. These people still have the right to have their pronouns respected, but stating a set of pronouns can be an alienating experience for trans people, therefore outing them as transgender. Cis allies displaying their pronouns alongside them can normalize the concept, and make trans people more comfortable.

To assist this, the Bellefonte GSA set out boxes of handmade pins with different designs, colors, and most importantly pronoun sets to hand out for free to students walking past the cafeteria. Secretary and junior Reese Walters explained the process of making these pins.

“We chose some basic pronoun designs that we thought would best fit the student population. We printed out the words and colored every pin individually, and then cut them out and made them into buttons,” he said.

The club’s treasurer, senior Amy Shearer, commented on the process behind coming up with the idea.

“We all wanted a way for students to be able to normalize the use of pronouns throughout the school,” she said.

There are also plans to create more projects throughout the school in a similar fashion, although no completed plans have been made.

“We are definitely trying to do this again, hoping for an overall better student gain. I hope those trying to make our efforts null know that we are only working for the better of our school,” Reese said.