We all know that high school and middle school can be tough for just about everyone. But for preteen and teenage lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth, those years can be especially difficult. Since its inception in 1998, the Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network) has been working with and "empowering youth activists to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools" by starting gay-straight alliance clubs, which are middle and high school student-run clubs composed of LGBTQ and straight students. These groups act as a support system -- an affirming, welcoming environment to socialize and a venue for activism to combat anti-LGBT rhetoric.
When the San Francisco based organization began, there were only 40 Bay Area schools working with the the GSA Network. Now, the group has expanded to over 880 clubs in California alone with 37 states joining the National Association of GSA Networks.