RUSSELL — Russell High School (RHS) hosted a Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Day on Thursday, October 25 allowing LGBTQ+ students to connect with others within the community. They learned how to run GSA clubs and raise community awareness.
“It really helped with student wellness,” said organizer Lisa Elminowski. “The kids who attended now see themselves represented in our school population. They know they are not in isolation. It is a huge boon to their self-esteem, their mental health, and it gives them a sense of dignity and growth.”
The workshop attracted GSA clubs from Russell, Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute, Char-Lan District High School, Rockland District High School and Glengarry District High School. It began with a 101-style workshop that covered issues surrounding gender and sexual identity, and the correct terms to use when referring to transgender people and others within the LGBTQ+ community.
Organizers and attendees also discussed how to run a GSA club. They spoke about potential activities such as hosting information events, attending PRIDE parades, and reaching out to the community in other ways. The day finished with a session on Queer history presented by the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity.