Resources Available from GSA for Safe Schools

Resources to Download

GSA Nuts and Bolts

10 Steps for Starting a GSA

Would you like to start a Gay-Straight Alliance at your school, but aren’t

quite sure how to go about doing that? This resource will walk you

through the basics, including what to do if your school says “no”.

Elements of a GSA

Gay-Straight Alliances can serve a lot of different purposes. This

activity will help students and GSA advisors think about what “kind” of

GSA they would like to have. Are we a social group? Are we activists?

Can we be both? Download this resource.

What the heck is a PGP?

Most of us use pronouns every day without giving it a second thought, but for some people the use of pronouns isn’t so casual. This resource

explains what we mean when we say “preferred gender pronouns” and

contains two activities that GSAs and other groups can use to help them

get into the practice of using gender neutral pronouns.

2009 Ready-Made Events

Is your Gay-Straight Alliance looking for new events to organize in your school? This document lists some common “days of

action” that are perfect for GSAs and similar clubs, such as TransAction, Day of Silence and National Coming Out Day.

Download it here.

GSA Leadership: What Does it Look Like? This activity takes introduces four different

models that GSAs frequently use to establish leadership teams within their clubs, and provides discussion questions to help

students and advisors come up with the advantages and disadvantages of each model. Which model would work best for your GSA?

Download it here.

Qualities of a LeaderLeaders come in all shapes and sizes. But are there any traits that

every good leader possesses? This activity is designed to generate discussion around the qualities of a good leader in an

interactive and colorful way. Download it here.

Teaching It Back

A guide to talking about HIV/AIDS with your GSA. Download it here.

Keeping the Momentum

Gay-Straight Alliances are a great way for students to practice

their leadership skills and exercise social activism. But what happens

when those students graduate? This resource discusses a number of ways

to “keep the momentum going” and stay connected to LGBT activism in the

state of Wisconsin. Download this resource.

GSAs and the Law

Legal Responsibility

This sheet gives short descriptions of three federal laws and one

Wisconsin law that protect the rights of LGBT youth and GSAs in

public schools: The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, Title

IX of Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Equal Access

Act, and the Wisconsin Pupil Nondiscrimination Law. Download this

resource here.

118.13 “101”

Did you know that Wisconsin was one of the first states to specifically list sexual orientation in its pupil nondiscrimination

policy? This resource breaks down state statute 118.13 into bite-sized, easy-to-swallow pieces and answers the question, “What

does discrimination mean, exactly?” Download this resource here.

118.13 PSA

Students have the right to be free from discrimination in school. This

public service announcement reminds students, by way of song, to

let everyone in their school know about Wisconsin’s Pupil

Non-Discrimination Law 118.13.

The song was written by 2008 GSAFE Scholarship Recipient and Madison

West High School graduate Miles Walser as part of a year-long campaign

aimed at educating Wisconsin schools about the state Pupil

Non-Discrimination Law. The PSA was produced by MMSD TV and includes art from

fellow West graduate Hannah Johnson.

For this and other videos please visit

Sample Harassment Incident Report Form

So what do you do if you’re being harassed at school? It’s important to

keep a record of incidents of harassment, and your school may

have a form similar to this resource

that you can use to file a report. If they don’t have something like

this, it’s okay to keep

record of what happened on a piece of notebook paper or in a journal.

Just make sure you list as many details as possible: what

happened, where it happened, when it happened, and who was present.

Harassment Report Flow Chart

Most incidents of harassment can be handled very quickly and effectively

by a teacher, administrator, or other school professional. But

what happens if your school isn’t acting on your complaints, or if

things aren’t being handled to your satisfaction? You have the right

to file a formal complaint, and this resource shows the steps you can take to do that.

Sample Letters of Complaint

If you are going to file a formal complaint either with the LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT or at the STATE LEVEL,

your complaint letter should follow

a certain format. At the local level, you will need to know who the

district designee is for receiving such complaints. A list of Wisconsin

school district designees can be downloaded from DPI’s website at:

Frequently Asked Questions about Day of Silence

Information about the legal responsibilities of schools and the rights of students. Download it here.

GSA Advisor Resources

Is it Chess Club or a Gay-Straight Alliance

Is advising GSA the same as adivising Chess Club? Download this

document to better understand both the similarities and differences.

Best Practices for adults interested in working with Middle School

Gay-Straight Alliances

What is the role of the middle school GSA advisor? Download this

resource to get a a better idea.

Gay Straight Alliances: Best Practices in Youth Development and After

-School Programs

How can adult advisors support the success of middle school GSAs? Created

by Madison School and Community Recreation staff. Download it here.

LGBT History

Check out our free resources on LGBT History here.

Resources to Purchase

Below are a number of new visual resources you can use to

educate, inform, and raise awareness. For prices and ordering

information please download this form.

Safe Zone Sticker

Students regularly tell us that one of the easiest ways to show your

support is to display a Safe Zone sign in your classroom or office. Now

GSAFE has our very own Safe Zone sticker. The small print reads:

Lesbian ∙ Gay ∙ Bisexual ∙ Transgender ∙ Questioning ∙ Straight

This is a place where people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are welcomed and affirmed

“I Just Heard You Say, ‘That’s So Gay!’” Poster

Our “I Just Heard You Say, ‘That’s So Gay!’” series was inspired by

students at Velma Hamilton Middle School in Madison, WI and re-imagined

by artist and student activist Kate Erickson. Hang this poster in

prominent locations around your school and you’ve already gone a long

ways towards setting clear expectations for language and behavior with

students – and staff!

“I Just Heard You Say, ‘That’s So Gay!’” Postcard

The postcard is a smaller version of our poster. It’s perfect for your

door or window – or for sending quick notes through the mail.

“I Just Heard You Say, ‘That’s So Gay!’” Business card

Educate on the spot with our business cards. The back side is the same

as our poster and postcard. The front says, “Expand Your Vocabulary.”

The next time you hear someone say, “That’s so gay!” simply hand her or

him this card. They’ll get the point without you having to say a word.

“I am not a retard” Poster

This long-awaited addition to our “Expand Your Vocabulary” series,

this poster addresses the casual use of the word “retard” and the

phrase “that’s retarded”, another hurtful expression that we would like

to see disappear from our hallways, classrooms and communities.

A collaborative effort of students belonging to two different clubs – a

Gay-Straight Alliance and Peer Partners – this poster was the product

of a project called “Creating New Allies”, which sought to help LGBTQ

students, student with disabilities, and their allies learn how to

create more inclusive and welcoming learning environments for all


“I am not a retard” Postcard

The postcard is a smaller version of our poster. It’s perfect for

your door or window – or for sending quick notes through the mail.

“I am not a retard” Business card

Educate on the spot with our business cards. The back side is the same

as our poster and postcard. The front says, “Expand Your Vocabulary.”

The next time you hear someone say, “Retard!” simply hand her or him

this card. They’ll get the point without you having to say a word.

For prices and ordering information please download this form.

The Panel Project

In November 2006 Wisconsin voters amended the state constitution to ban

not only marriage for same sex couples but also civil unions and other

similar forms of legal recognition. In the months leading up to the vote

GSAFE worked with students to help them get engaged in speaking out about

their views on the ban. One piece of that was the Panel Project. Almost

200 students expressed their views through decorated quilt panels. The

individual panels are on view at

Please contact us if you are interested in bringing the Panel Project to

your school, community, or state.

The Panel Project Guide

Do the Panel Project with your school, community, or state. Download the

guide here.