Every year, GSA Network hosts GAYLA, the GSA Advocacy & Youth Leadership Academy. GAYLA is a three-day intensive training in the legislative process, policy and administrative advocacy, media activism, and other important leadership skills. 

Students trained at GAYLA fight to protect and advance the rights of LGBTQ students and allies. GAYLA culminates in Queer Youth Advocacy Day, where students use their new skills to educate and engage lawmakers at the State Capitol in Sacramento.

This year, GAYLA will take place on April 25-28, 2014.

QYAD will take place on Monday, April 28, 2014.

Participant deadline has passed.



GAYLA is an annual, 3-day training in Sacramento for youth leaders from GSA clubs across California, followed by Queer Youth Advocacy Day on the steps of the state capitol. Youth from outside of Sacramento who are accepted to GAYLA will be provided with travel and housing. To attend GAYLA, students must apply and be accepted.

Who should apply?

  • Youth (age 18 and under) who are interested in making their schools safer for LGBT students should apply.
  • You must attend a California middle school or high school.
  • We are especially looking for students who are high school juniors or younger, since GAYLA youth often work on a campaign that continues into the next school year.
  • Middle school students can also apply.
  • Youth of color, low-income youth, and transgender and gender non-conforming youth are strongly encouraged to apply.

GAYLA 2014 is organized and sponsored by:

GSA Network Logo

Transgender Law CenterACLU of California Logo

Special thanks to the sponsors supporting GAYLA 2014:

Special thanks to the following individuals and organizations for their financial contributions for GAYLA 2013:

and Members & Staff of the California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus:

Speaker John A. Pérez   

Senator Mark Leno

Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal   

Assemblymember Rich Gordon

Assemblymember Toni Atkins   

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano

Assemblymember Ricardo Lara    

Assemblymember Susan Eggman


Assemblymember Mariko Yamada

Assemblymember Cristina Garcia

PFLAG San Ramon Valley

PFLAG Oakland-East Bay

PFLAG Sacramento

Gay Central Valley

Soroptimist International of Auburn

Thanks to the following organizations for their in-kind donations:

Food Not Bombs-Sacramento, Mr. Pickle, Costco, 524 Restaurant


After being a leader at GAYLA, students are encouraged to continue advocating for LGBTQ youth in schools by:

  • Training members of your GSA in advocacy skills.
  • Serving as a media spokesperson in your region on GSA, safer schools, and LGBTQ youth issues.
  • Making follow-up calls or visits with your lawmakers.
  • Joining the GSA Network’s Statewide Advocacy Council.
  • Organizing & participating in a campaign during the following school year to advocate for full implementation of the gender identity non-discrimination law in California schools, which may include visits with lawmakers and education officials, rallies, letter-writing campaigns, and speak-outs in your area.

Past Events  

GAYLA 2012 was held on April 29-May 1 in Sacramento.

Read the blog from QYAD/GAYLA 2012.

GAYLA 2011 was held on April 1-4, 2011 in Sacramento.

Read the blog from QYAD/GAYLA 2011.

GAYLA 2010 was held on April 23-26, 2010 in Sacramento.

Read the blog from QYAD/GAYLA 2010.

See quotes and photos from previous years below. 

Sec A Image: 

"I think the most valuable part was learning how to tell my story in a way that people outside the LGBTQ community could understand."

"The most valuable part was meeting all of the other LGBTQ youth. They really inspired me and reminded me of why I'm a straight ally."

      --2009 GAYLA Participants


GAYLA Participants receive intensive training and skills for their meetings with legislators.

Student activists also gain media skills at GAYLA.  Here Kyle Bodolay discusses LGBT youth issues with the local NBC TV station in Sacramento.