Imagine what it would be like to put on a mask everyday and cover your true identity. What would it be like to put on a fake persona, to hide who you really are just to survive. Most people camouflage their true identity, because they are afraid of judgement and ridicule.
For an ample amount of people in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer or Questioning community this is a sad reality.
At Cass and many other Detroit Public Schools Community District schools there has been an increased presence of student’s that are also members of the LGBTQ community in recent years. However, student members of the LGBTQ community have felt that they have no representation or safe haven group to assist them with issues that impact them daily.
According to reports from the Center for American Progress, 76% of teens affiliated with the LGBTQ community reported being verbally assaulted and 24% have reported being physically assaulted.
A report from National Alliance on mental illness states that LGBTQ teens also must deal with the hardships of being rejected by their family, which can cause feelings of isolation, depression, and more long-term mental health issues.
Moreover, homelessness is an issue for teens in the LGBTQ community, with 40% of LGBTQ teens are homeless due to family rejection according to a study from the Williams Institute at UCLA.
These issues can cause problems that will follow these students into adulthood reports The Graduate Center of City University of New York.
Cass Tech senior Christian Irving founded a new club called the Gay Straight Alliance to help create a space to work on these issues. The Gay Straight Alliance (G.S.A) is a social club that meets every Monday after school. With 70 members, G.S.A is one of the largest clubs at Cass.
“I started the club because when I was in the ninth,10th, and 11th grade I felt like I didn’t have anybody. I just wanted to normalize being gay,” Irving said.
The club not only discusses issues the LGBTQ community, but they also discuss women’s rights and social issues.
The Gay Straight Alliance is a safe haven for there members and wants to help flourish in to successful, and confident men and women in society.
“The Purpose of the G.S.A is to bring together our community and educate,” Irving said. “The goal of the G.S.A is for there not to be a need for a G.S.A. My mission is to educate and let people know I am a person to.”