REbeL, GSA: Accepting What Makes Us Unique

Written by: Lane Barrette, Editor in Chief

70% of high school girls avoid daily activities, such as attending school, due to believing they are physically inferior to others, while 40% of high school boys admit to attempting to gain muscle mass due to a similar reason. According to Christine Hammond, and other mental health counselors, this belief of inferiority is most often caused by people’s lack of self confidence. These insecurities are caused by a lack of self confidence; which are rooted from society deeming these aspects of oneself lacking in a certain regard. Organizations such as REbeL and Gay Straight Alliance(GSA) seek to eliminate this negative views of oneself by defacing society’s unrealistic expectations of who is the ideal man or woman, but also by creating a safe environment to discuss these unrealistic expectations.

“REbeL is not only an organization of people, it’s more of a family of people, getting together to embrace being totally themselves and telling others it’s okay to be yourself and to not be afraid of being who you are, just because society says you have to be a certain way,” said junior Natalie Rigdon.

REbeL, not only connects with the members of the organization, but also attempts to connect with the school as a whole.

“In our meetings, we usually have a different topic every other week. Whenever we meet, they range from talking about health and beauty, body image to eating disorders to living a healthy life and being mindful about exercise and eating habits,” said REbeL sponsor Ally Schaffer. “Outside of our meetings, we do outreach activities, like Mirrorless Monday. In the spring, we have a ‘Be you’ week which is a week where we do activities to celebrate being yourself and being true to you.”

GSA, on the other hand, focuses on the LGBTQIA+(lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual) community in regards to lifting up society’s acceptance of members apart of the community. Tara Bowser, the sponsor of GSA, believes the outreach to this community is better to be had, rather than not.

“For me, as a teacher, it means we’re providing a safe place for everyone. I don’t want any of my students to feel unsafe at school at any time and sometimes youth who are part of the LGBTQIA+ category do feel isolated sometimes and I want to make sure they know there are still people who respect them and enjoy them for whoever they are,” Bowser said.

For many, GSA appears to be an organization only for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, but the organization wishes to include allies of this community to help GSA’s mission to school wide acceptance of differences in sexual orientation.

“People should join GSA if they are in support of all of their peers, regardless of their similarities or differences. I think it really helps students to know that other people care about them, even if they have a different belief system or a different political belief system, if they just feel accepted and supported by everyone,” said Bowser.

For more information about REbeL and GSA, please feel free to email or talk to Tara Bowser ([email protected]) or Ally Schaffer ([email protected])