The 2022 MVHS GSA club is a diverse, inclusive club, and members are looking forward to another, even more successful year.
The sound of cheers erupts from the Room 505 as the final two students remain sitting criss-cross on their desktops. The rainbow puffball of a toy rat who has the body of a loofah blurs by as it soars in the classroom air, barely avoiding the projector. The loofah goes by the name of Gayrett. The game’s spectators, since ousted from playing and now sitting back in their original plastic seats, stare in peak excitement as two yearning hands eagerly reach out to catch it- and miss. The student who initiated the toss stands up, and the room cheers. They call the game: Silent Speedball.
After a year of organized Zoom meetings, the GSA is back in-person and as chaotic as ever. Weekly meetings at tutorial act as a place for an eclectic, diverse group of students ready to learn, talk, and have fun.
The GSA exists to create a more loving, safe environment for queer and genderqueer MVHS students. It’s a place where they can meet people similar to themselves, learn about important topics, and have a non-judgmental space to have fun and ask questions.
Each meeting, the classroom’s pull-down screen is filled with a Google Slides presentation that teaches the group about important LGBTQ+ icons, history, and terms. Topics have included Lesbian Visibility week, Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage month (AAPI), and asexual awareness. The presentations are typically followed by a round of Silent Speedball or Mafia. It all depends on the week.
Presentations, meetings, and other club-related activities like origami at lunch and the May 14th potluck are organized by GSA president Eli Malone (pronouns she/they). The swim-enthusiast waterbug (who loves to listen to Måneskin and the Arctic Monkeys) explains that the GSA’s purpose is to “create a safe space for people.” “We’re kind of becoming a family; a group of people who don’t discriminate and just enjoy each other’s company. And have fun!” they explain in an interview about the club.
Mission Viejo High School’s GSA club is very meaningful to its members. “It’s a step in the right direction to make the school more inclusive,” says one student. Another student, Davia, expresses that “it allows a space for queer kids to be safe. A place where they can be themselves and they don’t have to hide in fear of being rejected.” President Eli Malone views the club as a place where they can be themselves and help others be themselves. “It’s the most amazing feeling. I see some people who don’t have a safe space at home and here they can be themselves without worrying about anything,” she says, noting how she loves to see the club members grow along the way.
The club is sponsored by Mrs. Ross, who teaches AP Human Geography and U.S. History (and loves to cook and crochet in her spare time!). When asked about how long she has sponsored the GSA, Mrs. Ross responded with, “It’s been quite a few years. I can’t even remember.” She describes the GSA as “a very welcoming environment.” “We accept everybody for who they are and it is a great place to make great friends,” she continues. “I think there is a need for LGTBQ and allies to have a space to come together as a community, for friendship and to provide them with resources for support.”
“I wanted a more inclusive place. It’s nice to meet other people like me,” describes one student about why they joined. Another student, Greg, joined in hopes to “find a new interesting club to join.” The student continues, “Even though we are just a small club in school, I just still feel like I’m at home, with my friends.”
Though the 2021-2022 GSA is coming to an end, the club will be renewed for next year! Malone will remain as president, with goals to raise money to support organizations with a similar cause, to recruit more members, and to have an even more organized structure. Some of the members have expressed interest in expanding the club to promote even more inclusitity, by advocating for things like gender-neutral bathrooms on campus or inspiring teachers to ask for students’ pronouns. One of the members comments, “We should try and take more action to try and make the community a more inclusive place.”
If you are wondering whether or not to join next year’s club, or even try to be involved in the community during the summer, President Eli Malone reminds that, “No matter who you are, just come in and have fun. Whether you’re straight, gay, trans, an ally, everyone’s welcome here.”
So remember, even though it may seem like you don’t belong, or you’re different from everyone else, you are not alone and there is an extreme value in not being afraid to be unique and different.
The GSA Instagram page, @gsa.mvhs, is open for questions through DM at any time. So this summer, warm up your Silent Speedball skills for the upcoming run of the 2022-2023 GSA! 🙂