Central Kitsap’s Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club is continuing their fight for equality

How students are advocating for the universal recognition of their identities


Mars Anderson

Teacher Wendy Kassler presents a decorative display advocating for diversity in front of her classroom, room 2209.

by Mars Anderson, Reporter

Led by teacher and club advisor, Wendy Kassler, Central Kitsap Highschool’s (CK) Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club (GSA) is committed to creating a safe space for students of all gender identities and sexual orientation. They meet on Tuesdays after school from 2:35-3:30 pm in room 2209.

Kassler has been working with GSA on and off for about 15 years. Although she said she is not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she is a proud ally of the community.

“I wanted there to be a safe place at school for these students to come together and feel accepted,” Kassler said.

Along with creating a safe place for students, Kassler also mentioned that a major value of the club is advocacy, which Andy Lujan touched on in more detail. Lujan is a sophomore at CK, working with GSA as their Instagram Manager, and a second year member. He said he identifies as non-binary and demisexual.

“I feel something notable that GSA has done is speak out about different things going on in our community, that [aren’t] okay, and has helped bring awareness and also helped fight back from things that the student board did or other teachers did that isn’t something that’s good for the community,” Lujan said.

Second year GSA member, and president of the club, junior Reanae Maleport, mentioned a specific instance of this advocacy that she considered to be significant.

“We had a presentation to the teachers that we did last year through remote learning that talked a lot about different gender identities [and] labels and sexual orientations, and labels,” said Maleport.

Maleport also mentioned future plans for advocacy that she hopes GSA will be able to accomplish this school year.

Maleport said she hopes to give a similar presentation to students that GSA gave to staff last year, where students are educated on recognizing each other’s pronouns and how certain jokes can be harmful to the LGBTQ+ community and its members.

Many members of the club have felt like the community and advocacy of GSA has had positive effects on their lives. 

“It’s given me a lot of new people to talk to, and it helps me know who are the safe and good people in the school when it comes to adults and students.” Lujan said

For those looking to become more educated on LGBTQ+ issues or looking for a community where they can feel accepted, new members are always welcome in GSA.

“Their voice and experience matters, and we would not only love to have them there but we kind of need them there to talk about that,” Maleport said. “Whether it’s cross sections between your LGBT identity maybe and your religion, or in your race and different experiences you’ve had with that and also with being LGBT. We really want that diversity, and we want those conversations and [that] can’t happen without people.”

A possible poster idea draw by a GSA cub member, showing 5 cartoon bunnies carrying the LGBTQ+ progress flag
Proposing an idea, a GSA club member draws their proposition for a club poster to be displayed around the school. (Mars Anderson)