Students take the gay out of their Gay-Straight Alliance after parents brand it ‘indoctrination’

gay straight alliance student

Students at a Tennessee prep school have taken the gay out of their Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club after parents branded it “indoctrination” and compared LGBT+ people to Neo-Nazis.

According to the Daily Memphian, students at the middle school, Lakeland Preparatory, said that they would be scrapping their request for the GSA club, and would be replacing it with an “Allies of Diversity” club.

Superintendent Ted Horrell said the new club “welcomes all people, cultures, genders, orientations, beliefs, and religions”, and added: “Students are encouraged to support one another as allies in school, standing up for those who are most at risk of being bullied and judged negatively.”

While Horrell insisted that the decision to take the gay out of the club, which essentially has the same aims as the GSA, was “initiated completely by the students”.

However, it could be argued that it might have had something to do with the shocking homophobia and transphobia from their parents.

Over two consecutive school board meetings last month, Lakeland parents described the club as “evil” and the teacher sponsoring it as a “predator” after the GSA was announced in a weekly email.

One parent told the board: “At a time when kids’ minds are at their most fragile and they are trying to understand who they are, the Lakeland School System has decided to give in to the pressure of this evil world.

“They’ve decided to give a paid teacher the right to indoctrinate these kids with questions and doubts about their God-given identity.

“You may see it as innocent, but we have seen all throughout our country what this decision leads to. I will make the kids question what gender they should like romantically when they have a natural tendency to enjoy being around people of their same sex.

“Just because a child likes to play video games or sports with his or her same-sex friends, doesn’t mean he should question his sexual preference, but that is exactly what these kids will start doing.”

He accused the teacher of having a “liberal agenda” and trying to “infiltrate our school system”, and claimed the school club would lead to “boys being in girls’ bathrooms” and “an assault in the bathroom in between classes”.

One parent insisted that if the school had a GSA club, then it would also have to allow a “gun youth club”, a “heterosexual happy club” and a “peaceful neo-Nazis club”, while another accused the teacher of “grooming” and being a “predator”.

The school board’s attorney pointed out that under the 1984 Equal Access Act, passed to originally protect Christian clubs, schools which receive government funding cannot stop students from conducting meetings because of the “religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the speech at such meetings”.

However, multiple parents suggested banning clubs at the the school altogether, simply to stop the GSA from meeting.

The school board has suggested holding a town hall, so that parents are able to have a “discussion” about the club.

Gay-Straight Alliance clubs are under attack across the US

This is not the first time that Gay-Straight Alliance (GSAs) clubs have come under fire by religious conservatives, and the clubs are being increasingly targeted across the US.

Just last month, a judge voted in favour of a GSA at a school in Indiana, after the principal barred the group from advertising on campus and raising funds for the club.

The ACLU of Indiana, which represented the GSA in its lawsuit, said in a statement: “While this isn’t the first time the ACLU of Indiana has had to take on a public school for treating a GSA group differently than other student-led organisations, we hope that public schools throughout the state will take notice and forgo future challenges by providing equal treatment to all student groups.”