Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network


The GLSEN Jump-Start Guide for Gay-Straight Alliances

Welcome to The GLSEN Jump-Start Guide!

GLSEN has created this resource for new and already-established Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) or similar clubs. The resources take you through the process of establishing or re-establishing your group, identifying your mission and goals, and assessing your school’s climate. Jump Start your school and your GSA and create safer schools for all regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

This guide consists of eight self-contained sections; all are designed to help you jump-start—or bring fresh and creative energy to—your student club. They are available as PDF files to download, in full color (high resolution, large file size) and black and white (low resolution, smaller file size).

Topics include:

Part 1: Building and Activating Your GSA or Similar Student Club (46 pages)

This resource provides step-by-step assistance for students interested in
forming a Gay-Straight Alliance and offers activities that can help you organize your club.

Part 2: Tips and Tools for Organizing an Action Campaign (17 pages)

The activities in this section are meant to give you a taste of what is known as Direct-Action Organizing. Learn the basics of strategizing, creating a timeline, framing your messaging and creating an action plan.

Part 3: Strategies for Training Teachers (15 pages)

Your GSA can greatly improve the climate of your school by giving teachers the tools they need to combat name-calling, bullying and harassment. A training can also give students the opportunity to present practical solutions – and a chance for teachers to brainstorm ways to achieve these solutions

Part 4: Understanding Direct-Action Organizing (28 pages)

The activities in this section focus on Direct-Action Organizing and are designed to help you apply those techniques and strategies to your work as a student club.

Part 5: Examining Power, Privilege and Oppression (18 pages)

Is anti-LGBT sentiment the only thing that hurts others and contributes to making schools unsafe for many students? Are there other ways that inequalities in society cause harmful situations for students? In this section you will explore individual identities and power and privilege and learn how your GSA can work in an anti-oppression framework.

Part 6: Creating Youth-Adult Partnerships (24 pages)

Bringing youth and adults together in more aspects of the safer schools movement will allow an even larger contingency of students’ voices to be heard. Learn how to identify the barriers that occur while working to create youth-adult partnerships and strategies to create youth-adult partnerships.

Part 7: Making Your Student Club Trans-Inclusive (27 pages)

This resource will help students develop a greater understanding of transgender people and related issues, as well as actions that can ensure that transgender and gender non-conforming people are fully included in all that GSAs do in schools.

Part 8: Evaluation, Continuation, Celebration (17 pages)

One of the best ways to learn from and build upon your group’s experiences is by taking the time to assess your work together. It is also important to stay connected and active when your GSA does not meet. As an added bonus, this resource offers a template for creating a journal for your GSA.

Please note that we have chosen to use gender-neutral language in this resource. We recognize that replacing "he" and "she" with the gender-neutral "they" is grammatically questionable, but we hope you will overlook this in support of students who do not use "he" or "she" to identify themselves.

If you would like to receive more information about GLSEN, or to get involved in the safer schools movement, please register online at! We welcome your feedback on the activities in this guide—and we salute you for the important work you are doing to create safer schools for all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.


COLOR/Part 1 - (4.34MB)

COLOR/Part 2 - (2.55MB)

COLOR/Part 3 - (1.73MB)

COLOR/Part 4 - (3.33MB)

COLOR/Part 5 - (2.23MB)

COLOR/Part 6 - (3.33MB)

COLOR/Part 7 - (3.75MB)

COLOR/Part 8 - (2.42MB)

BW/Part 1 - (2.07MB)

BW/Part 2 - (905KB)

BW/Part 3 - (712MB)

BW/Part 4 - (1.36MB)

BW/Part 5 - (1.16MB)

BW/Part 6 - (1.66MB)

BW/Part 7 - (1.59MB)

BW/Part 8 - (1.10MB)
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