By Gideon Abadilla, Youth Development Specialist

In honor of LGBTQ Pride Month, the Carteret High School Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) hosted Pride events within the high school this past June. On June 2nd, the GSA sponsored a Pride Month Giveaway Table where they distributed a multitude of LGBTQ-themed freebies to students and staff outside of the cafeteria during school lunch periods. The giveaways included rainbow and transgender flag-colored stickers, rainbow-colored leis, GSA rainbow bracelets, rainbow-colored temporary tattoos, and pronoun pins. Students were also given an opportunity to enter a raffle for a $25 gift card for either DoorDash, Dunkin Donuts, or Amazon in exchange for correctly answering an LGBTQ-themed trivia question. 

Overall, the event was a success, serving upwards of 300 individuals within the Carteret High School community, including 84 raffle entries. Many students and staff members were delightfully surprised to see the brightly colored table set up in the hallway and happily walked away with rainbow swag to kick off LGBTQ Pride Month. One week after this event, the GSA also sponsored a Pride-themed Dress Down Day for staff so that they could further join in on the fun and the staff did not disappoint. While the GSA did provide free rainbow smiley pins to the staff for the dress down day, staff wore their favorite Pride gear to school. One teacher even went as far as wearing a rainbow tutu to school.

The creation of the two Pride events sponsored by GSA this year were heavily influenced by the youth it serves today, which have shown to be more publicly open about their gender expression and sexual orientation. When the GSA was first introduced, it mainly served as an affinity group for queer individuals and their allies to come together behind closed doors. Now, the group serves the school in a more broad sense. Some school-wide activities from this past year include a National Coming Out Day photo booth station and a GLSEN Solidarity Week event where students pledge to foster a safe and inclusive school environment for the LGBTQ+ community. That being said, GSA continues to provide an LGBTQ+ safe space for club members during monthly meetings. A few of this past year’s meetings include an LGBTQ+ History Month Kahoot game, a holiday cookie decorating party, and an episode screening of HBO’s We’re Here. The GSA hopes to continue pushing the boundaries of the safe space it has developed over the years for the Carteret High School community, especially with the recent introduction of Spectrum, the Carteret Junior High School’s version of the GSA.

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