Pride and Prejudices


An Examination of Genders & Sexualities Alliances in Schools

What are Genders & Sexualities Alliance (GSA) or Rainbow clubs?

According to the GSA Network, Genders & Sexualities Alliance clubs, or GSAs, are “student-run organizations that unite LGBTQ+ and allied youth to build community and organize around issues impacting them in their schools and communities.” However, GSAs have “evolved beyond their traditional role” and “have emerged as vehicles for deep social change related to racial, gender, and educational justice.”

Starting as early as pre-school, GSA clubs serve as a place for students to “meet and connect with other trans and queer students on campus,” “create safe spaces and talk about various issues they face,” and engage in activism.

At the middle and elementary school level, these clubs can have different names, including but not limited to:

  • “Queer Straight Alliance”
  • “Rainbow Club”
  • “Affinity Group”
  • “Belonging Group
  • “Unity Club”

The GSA Network, or Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network (formerly Gay-Straight Alliance Network), is a “youth-driven organization that connects LGBTQ+ youth and school-based GSA clubs through peer support, leadership development, and community organizing and advocacy.”

In a self-published article titled “LGBTQ+ Youth of Color Need #PoliceFreeSchools,” the GSA network states that “LGBTQ+ youth of color can only access a quality education and safe school environments if we disband school police departments that disproportionately target and apprehend students of color” and that “removing all police presence in schools is a critical step to dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.”

The article also states that the “National Trans Youth Council [Gender Justice Leadership Programs], a project of GSA Network and Transgender Law Center,” developed a “Nine Point Platform and manifesto on Trans Youth Liberation.” The Platform calls for the “abolition of the police, ICE, borders, and the judicial system,” an “end of the cisgender heterosexual patriarchy,” and an “end to global white supremacy.”

The GSA Network has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from nonprofits such as New Venture Fund, the Transgender Law Center, The Schott Foundation for Public Education, Tides Foundation, Novo Foundation, and Ford Foundation.


Los Angeles Unified School District, California

Los Angeles Unified School District’s Rainbow Clubs, part of its “OUT for Safe Schools Campaign,” states that the clubs are “inclusive spaces for elementary students to explore LGBTQ+ related topics.” The district clubs base activities on themes related to “current events, timely campaigns, and the interest of our participants.”

One activity in the guide, titled “LGBTQ+ Liberation,” focuses on activism. It states that “activists are people who work to change things they don’t think are fair about the world. They speak up when they see something that isn’t right and work with other people to come up with solutions to problems. This is called fighting for social justice.” The activity includes a book about two activists that “sometimes referred to themselves as drag queens” and links to an associated coloring page.

It was recently revealed that the district’s Rainbow Clubs are offered to students as young as four years old.

Waterloo Community Unit School District, Illinois

Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that the Waterloo Community School District High School’s “Diversity Club” faulty advisor’s opposition to a proposed Gender Identity policy “requiring parent involvement when creating a Gender Identity Plan.” The teacher states that “the issue with the proposal is the repeated use of the word ‘required’ with regard to students’ parents and their participation in all of these arrangements.”

The club advisor continues: “I wholeheartedly disagree that the ‘parental involvement’ in a student’s education, as referenced in 8:95, has anything to do with gender identity and bathroom facilities.” Additionally, the advisor states that the policy in question is “intended to give parents/guardians a voice regarding the actual education of their child(ren). It is NOT intended to give the school board the right to REQUIRE parent involvement in bathroom usage outside the classroom and educational environment.”

The staff member further clarifies that they are “aware of a number of students who do not have supportive parents with regards to their existence as transgender, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming” and that the “problem is with the requirement of parent involvement.

The Diversity Club advisor states that the club is “registered with the National Genders and Sexualities Alliance” and is “also part of the Illinois GSA network of educators and am in communication with them regularly.”

Topeka Public Schools, Kansas

A Freedom of Information Act request in 2022 revealed that French Middle School staff, including the school counselor, were coordinating with the school’s GSA club to facilitate a student walkout. Emails show staff working with GSA club members to coordinate a student protest over “recent laws being passed and debated.” The event was in coordination with a “nationwide school walkout on April 1st, 2022” to “basically just going against the Dont Say Gay Bill [sic], and certain states passing laws against transwomen playing sports.”

Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland

Montgomery County Public Schools’ Bayard Rustin Elementary School’s Rainbow Club page is found on the school counselor’s website. The site page includes images related to pronoun use, Pride, and slides for a presentation titled “An Introduction to Non-Binary Identity.”

Videos embedded on the site include “What Does A Princess Really Look Like?” read by drag queen Tara Byte, “Kapaemahu” read by transgender teacher Kumu Hina, and “#QueeringtheClassroom.”

A linked document titled “Glossary on LGBTQIA++ relevant terminology” includes eighty-four terms such as “Bicurious,” “BDSM,” “Bear Community,” “Bigender,” “Kink,” “Leather community,” “Polyamory,” and “Womxn.”

Salem Public School District, Massachusetts

A January 18, 2023, post shows that Witchcraft Elementary School in Salem Public School District informed parents that the school would be starting a Rainbow Club for third grade through fifth grade students to “discuss and implement strategies to create a more inclusive community,” “share resources related to gender and inclusive communities,” and “create artwork to reflect and show pride in our identities.” The post concludes by stating that “if you would NOT like your child to be able to participate in this club, please contact…

Saint Paul Public Schools, Minnesota

Saint Paul Public Schools’ Safe School Manual states that GSAs can “function as activist groups, working to fight prejudice in the schools through educating the broader community about LGBTQ issues.” The document lists ideas for meetings including “working to institute change in their schools or community” such as “planning political action strategies.”

The manual also provides a section titled “20 Ways Your GSA Can Rock the World.” Actions or activities include creating a “diverse school library,” “creating safe spaces” which includes having teachers display “‘Safe Space’ stickers,” a “day of silence” to “protest the silence created by heterosexism and anti-LGBTQ bias in our society,” “document school heterosexism or gender bias” around school, engaging in Pride marches, and “queering the curriculum.”

Also included in the manual is a document that asks club members to “assess the racism and transphobia in your GSA.” It states that “GSAs, like all institutions in the United States, reflect racist and sexist or transphobic elements of the country’s past and present” and that “transforming into an anti-racist and pro-transgender organization requires passing through these four stages of organizational development.”

Additionally, the manual provides how to build an “Anti-racist GSA” stating that the “LGBTQ youth movement cannot survive unless it includes POC and addresses issues of sexism, transphobia, racism, classism, ageism and environmental justice.” Suggestions include researching and educating “members about issues of race and class and how they relate to your school” and taking on “activist projects that intersect different kinds of oppression and liberation.”

Read a previous report on Saint Paul Public Schools’ Safe School Manual here.


Below is a list of school districts that have been found to offer GSA or Rainbow Clubs for its middle school and/or elementary school students.

This list is not exhaustive; if you are aware of a middle or elementary school that offers a club that is not listed, please notify PDE here.


Cave Creek Unified School District – Sonoran Trails Middle School

Chandler Unified School District – Payne Junior High School

Flagstaff Unified School District – Sinagua Middle School


Capistrano Unified School District – Aliso Viejo Middle School

Castro Valley Unified School District* – Creekside Middle School

Davis Joint Unified School District* – Oliver Wendell Holmes Junior High

Folsom Cordova Unified School District – W.E. Mitchell Middle School

Los Angeles Unified School District*

Madera Unified School District* – Thomas Jefferson Middle School

Moreland School District- Moreland Middle School

Oakland Unified School District*

Oceanside Unified School District* – Cesar Chavez Middle School

Pajaro Valley Unified School District* – Alianza Charter School

Pleasanton Unified School District* – Hart Middle School and Pleasanton Middle School

Sacramento City Unified School District* – Fern Bacon Middle School

San Carlos School District- Central Middle School

San Diego Unified School District* – Marston Middle School

San Francisco Unified School District*

San Jose Unified School District* – Willow Glen Middle School

San Marcos Unified School District* – Woodland Park Middle School

San Ramon Valley Unified School District*

Santa Cruz City Schools* – Branciforte Middle School and Mission Hill Middle School

Sweetwater Union High School District* – Bonita Vista Middle School


Adams 12 Five Star Schools* – Westlake Middle School

Boulder Valley School District* – Southern Hills Middle School and Angevine Middle School

Estes Park School District R-3 – Estes Park Middle School

Jeffco Public Schools* – Evergreen Middle School

Poudre School District* – Cache La Poudre Middle School


Darien Public Schools – Middlesex Middle School

Hamden Public Schools* – Hamden Middle School


Alachua County Public Schools – Oak View Middle School and Westwood Middle School

Duval County Public Schools – Kernan Middle School

Lee County School District – Lexington Middle School

Leon County School District – Montford Middle School

P.K. Younge Middle School

School District of Osceola County – Neptune Middle School


City Schools of Decatur- Beacon Hill Middle School

Forsyth County Schools- Riverwatch Middle School


Chicago Public Schools* – Oscar Mayer Magnet School

Naperville Community Unit School District 203* – Jefferson Junior High School and Madison Junior High School

McClean County Unit District No. 5* – Kingsley Junior High

Round Lake Area Schools CUSD #116 – Round Lake Middle School

Valley View School District 365 – Hubert H. Humphrey Middle School


Noblesville Schools- Noblesville West Middle School


Des Moines Public Schools – Brody Middle School

Iowa City Community School District*


Topeka Public Schools* – French Middle School


Fayette County Public Schools- Tates Creek Middle School


Harford County Public Schools*- Bel Air Middle School and Edgewood Middle School

Montgomery County Public Schools*- Maryvale Elementary School, Bayard Rustin Elementary School, Ashburton Elementary School, Forest Knolls Elementary School, and Piney Branch Elementary School


Arlington Public Schools* – Ottoson Middle School

Cambridge Public Schools* – Kennedy- Longfellow School

Framingham Public Schools* – Brophy Elementary School

Hopkinton Public Schools* – Hopkinton Middle School

Lexington Public Schools – William Diamond Middle School

Milford Public Schools – Stacy Middle School

Salem Public Schools – Witchcraft Elementary School

Taunton Public Schools – Joseph H. Martin Middle School

Weston Public Schools* – Weston Middle School


Birmingham Public Schools – Derby Middle School


Fort Zumwalt School District- Dubray Middle School


Anoka-Hennepin Schools – Anoka Middle School and Coon Rapids Middle School

Independent School District 196 Rosemont-Apple Valley-Eagan* – Black Hawk Middle School

Farmington Area Public Schools- Levi P. Dodge Middle School

Minneapolis Public Schools* – Andersen Middle School

Saint Paul Public Schools* – Creative Arts Secondary School

New Jersey

Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District* – Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School

Secaucus Public School District* – Secaucus Middle School

Sparta Township School District* – Sparta Middle School

Teaneck Public Schools* – Thomas Jefferson Middle School

New Mexico

Alburquerque Public Schools*

New York

Baldwin Union Free School District – Baldwin Middle School

Brighton Central Schools* – French Road Elementary School

Croton Harmon Schools – Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School

Hastings-On-Hudson Union Free School District – Farragut Middle School

Highland Central School District*

Kathonah-Lewisboro School District – John Jay Middle School

Lancaster Central School District – Lancaster Middle School

New Paltz Central School District – New Paltz Middle School

Pittsford Schools* – Barker Road Middle School

West Genesee Central School District – Camillus Middle School

North Carolina

Wake County Public School System – Moore Square Magnet Middle School


Ashland School District* – Ashland Middle School

Portland Public Schools* – Laurelhurst School

Tigard-Tualatin School District – Fowler Middle School and Hazelbrook Middle School


Abington School District* – Abington Middle School

Conestoga Valley School District – Gerald G. Huesken Middle School

Neshaminy School District – Maple Point Middle School

The School District of Philadelphia*

West Chester Area School District – J.R. Fugett Middle School


Davis School District- Syracuse Junior High School


Woodstock Union High School and Middle School


Arlington Public Schools* – Dorthy Hamm Middle School and Williamsburg Middle School

Chesterfield County Public Schools* – Robious Middle School


Anacortes School District* – Anacortes Middle School

Issaquah School District 411* – Maywood Middle School

Lakewood School District* – Lakewood Middle School

Lake Washington* – Benjamin Franklin Elementary and Kirkland Middle School

Northshore School District* – Canyon Park Middle School

Pullman School District* – Lincoln Middle School

Shoreline Public Schools* – Einstein Middle School

Snoqualmie Valley School District* – Chief Kanim Middle School

South Kitsap School District* – Marcus Whitman Middle School

Tacoma School District* – Summit Trail Middle School and Stewart Middle School


Glendale River Hills School District – Glen Hills Middle School

Hudson School District – Hudson Middle School

Madison Metropolitan School District – Georgia O’Keefe Middle School

Verona Area School District

Waunakee Community School District

* School districts that have a policy that does not require school employees to notify parents of their child’s gender identity.