Gay Student Clubs Taking Hold in Utah- Despite Chris Buttars…
Stetson Sheffield aimed to create a safe space for himself and others at Clearfield High as he started his senior year at a new school.
Chantel Bleazard wanted to stick up for her gay and transgender peers at Tooele High.
Struck by the loss of a friend, Mario Ramirez, a Bonneville High senior, hoped he could help prevent other gay teen suicides in his community outside Ogden.
They are just three of the dozens of students who have launched gay-straight alliance (GSA) clubs at Utah high schools. This year, the number of such clubs has nearly tripled in the Beehive State, growing from 10 in 2009-10 to 27, from St. George to Logan, according to the Utah Pride Center’s GSA Network. Students are working to open additional clubs next year at schools in Pleasant Grove, Vernal, Grantsville, Sandy and South Jordan.
“These GSAs are wonderful, safe, open and affirming environments where young people can just be who they are,” says Valerie Larabee, Utah Pride Center executive director. “That’s a rare space for some youth, particularly in a conservative, religious state.”
- Salt Lake schools consider protecting gay students ()
- Salt Lake board OKs antidiscrimination policy ()