GSA Link: connecting LGBT teens


Catherine Hayden

[From left to right] Hudson junior Casey Carlino, Westborough senior Tyler Kaufman and Algonquin senior Eli Cohen-Gordon start an activity in which they discuss philosophical questions.

Catherine Hayden, News Editor

Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Link is an organization joining local high schools’ GSAs with each other in person outside of their typical meetings. During meetings, members from surrounding schools come together in a safe space for LGBT students, fostering bonds across town lines.

President of GSA Link and Algonquin sophomore M Clark started this organization last spring with his mother and GSA Link adviser Melissa Clark to connect local high school LGBT members with each other.

“GSA Link is a project that M and I started, connecting all the local high school GSAs to come together, collaborate, socialize, get to know each other in a safe space,” Melissa Clark said.

GSA Link’s first meeting took place in April of 2018, but lots of planning went into it before than, according to M Clark.

“I think we started talking about it in January,” M Clark said. “It’s pretty much what I was imagining [when I started it], but it took a month or two. The first couple months it was just me and some of my friends from the school’s GSA. Then slowly other kids from other schools started coming.”

Those kids from other schools include students from Westborough, Lincoln-Sudbury, Grafton, Nashoba, Shrewsbury, Assabet and Hopkinton. GSA Link has grown to the point of connecting over 40 LGBT students in the area.

Hudson junior Casey Carlino is agender, meaning they identify as lacking a gender. They have found GSA Link to be a place welcoming of true expression.

“I’m not really accepted at my school and coming here I feel like I’m truly accepted, and I can be myself,” Carlino said. “I don’t really talk much [at school], but here I do. I like having a place where we can just be ourselves and take a break from everything.”

Westborough senior Tyler Kaufman views his school as accepting, but still finds value in the GSA Link.

“Our community within the school is still small, so it’s nice to be in groups like this that bring in multiple different locations together to create a larger community within our minority,” Kaufman said.

Vice president of the Algonquin GSA senior Eli Cohen-Gordon has been in GSA Link since last spring  and has watched the number of participants as well as the community grow.

“Everyone is wonderful and nice,” Cohen-Gordon said. “It doesn’t matter if you have different opinions [because] we all just know we have a mutual level of respect for each other. We all try to help each other because everyone’s going through their own struggles.”

Algonquin GSA president, senior Jena Khreim enjoys the relaxed environment during each meeting.

“It’s nice to be a part of GSA link because it gives me an opportunity to come to a GSA where I don’t have to plan everything,” Khreim said. “It gives me a break to worry less about how the group is doing and just kinda be more a part of the group and have fun.”

Meetings are held in the Trinity Church in Northborough and happen every other Friday at 6 p.m but the students can still connect every day using Discord, a text and video chat application.

“[The GSA Link members’] network is so tight now,” Melissa Clark said. “They really all have each others’ back, which is really, really special.”