Gay-Straight Alliance groups in Greenport, Riverhead and Mattituck high schools have received grants to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in each district.
The LGBT Network — an association of non-profit organizations working to serve the LGBT community of Long Island and Queens — awarded more than 30 grants totaling $7,500 to GSA groups from Long Island and New York City through its Safe Schools Initiative mini-grant program this year. The program, funded by private and corporate donations, has helped more than 125 GSAs throughout the region since 2017, according to the LGBT Network.
Greenport GSA members are using their $510 grant to create a documentary for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a series of demonstrations by members of New York City’s gay community against a police raid of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in 1969. The club said the funds would be used toward transportation to New York City, where they would interview the owner of the historic establishment and obtain footage for the film.
The Riverhead GSA is planning a dance for local GSAs with its $250 of grant money. Mattituck said it would use its grant money for transportation to attend that event.
LGBT Network President and Founder David Kilmnick said GSA programs provide a safe space for LGBT youth to advocate for a school environment free of bullying.
“Sometimes all that stands between them and their ideas is resources,” he said in a press release. “That’s where the LGBT Network’s GSA Mini-Grant Program comes in — we provide the support and empower youth leaders to stop the bullying of LGBT youth.”
According to the LGBT Network, the organization helped establish the first GSA club on Long Island in 1998, and since then the LGBT Network has helped start 125 after-school GSA clubs.