GSA spreads acceptance through photos

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Emily Kinzer

GSA members holding the campaign t-shirt design.

What do celebrities like Jane Lynch, Steve-O and Kim Kardashian have in common with Decatur’s Gay-Straight Alliance? They’ve all been participants in photo campaigns to spread acceptance of the LGBTQ community, and soon all Decatur students will be able to as well.

During the week of March 5, the Gay-Straight Alliance will sponsor a No Hate Week, an event designed to spread acceptance of the LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer) community at Decatur.

During the week, the GSA will sell t-shirts and baked goods. At the end of the week, GSA photographers will photograph students in their t-shirts. These photos will be displayed in a Facebook album, and some will be displayed as posters around the school.

The visual aspect of a photo campaign was particularly important to the GSA. “Decatur is already very much an accepting place, but it’s different when you can put it into a visual,” said Taylor Hammond, who has helped organize the campaign. “We’re hoping that having people from all around the school taking pictures and buying t-shirts will have an effect on all the students.”

Leela Goshorn, who has been one of the main t-shirt designers, drew inspiration from outside the box. The design incorporates the transgender sign (the male symbol, female symbol and a combination of the two) and the Zen circle.

“It represents going through life even with its challenges and its suffering and continuing throughout the entire thing,” Goshorn said. “I thought that was a really good representation of not only what we’re trying to do with the campaign, but what the GSA stands for as a whole.”

Not only are students encouraged to be involved in the campaign, but teachers are as well. According to the 2009 Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network school climate survey, 30 percent of students in Georgia had heard school staff making homophobic remarks. The GSA wants to get teachers involved not only because of their influence in school affairs, but also to make all students feel safe and accepted at Decatur, no matter what their orientation.

In the end, “all students” are two of the keywords the GSA uses to explain their goal. “It’s not really about the gay kids and the straight kids,” Hammond said. “It’s just a bunch of people coming together to show acceptance.”