- Gilbert A. Dater High School
CPS Proudly Builds Supports for LGBTQIA+ Students
Last school year, Gamble Montessori High School made a significant step towards inclusivity and support for the LGBTQIA+ community through the introduction of "Q+ Alliance" – a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ students and allies.
The Q+ Alliance club aims to create a nurturing environment that fosters understanding, acceptance and empowerment through bimonthly student-led discussions. By providing a platform for dialogue, education and support, the club seeks to combat prejudice, promote inclusivity, and celebrate diversity within the school community.
“It's also a little bit of a social club, which is so fun,” said Anne Hockman, Speech Language Pathologist at Gamble, co-founder and one of the club’s staff advisors. “It's there to be a safe space for anyone in the school that is within the LGBTQ+ community or allies. It’s also there for anyone that just wants to learn a little bit more about what all those letters mean, and how best to support their students or their fellow classmates.”
The club serves students in grades 7-12 in the school’s cafeteria with no rigid sign up’s so students can comfortably come and go.
Hockman worked at Withrow University High School for four years but never felt as though she had enough experience to start a gay-straight alliance club (GSA) at the school.
“I had thought about starting one off and on but wasn't really sure how to do it, how it would be received there, and I didn't feel like I was far along enough in my journey of understanding to say ‘Yeah, I'm gonna go start this group’,” Hockman said.
When she transferred to Gamble Montessori at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, she knew that this environment was ready and took the opportunity to create the club. Hockman said that despite being a new staff member at a new school, she immediately felt welcomed and loved the diversity of the student body and staff. She could tell the support for the club would be embraced.
“I had spoken to a couple of other teachers and staff including counselor Kelly Mills and math teacher Erin Wilson, whom I met through those first few months and tossed the idea around. They wholeheartedly said ‘Let's do this, I can help support,’ and it was really great. This past year, we also had incredible support from our interim principal, Brandon Frimming, who came to a number of our events.”
Q+ Alliance serves as a safe haven where members can freely express themselves, share experiences and seek guidance. The club meetings are a blend of informative discussions, engaging activities and guest speakers who address pertinent topics related to LGBTQIA + issues, mental health and self-acceptance.
Hockman said one of the most engaging topics for her students has been with legislation surrounding Ohio House Bill 616 – the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ and critical race theory censorship bill. For many of the students in her club, Hockman said school is the only place they feel comfortable with being their true selves.
“It's incredibly affirming for them. I know some of our students feel that they can only be themselves at school. They might change clothes when they get to school, in order to express themselves authentically, especially for our students that are non-binary or students that are trans. It's very important that they have a space to be able to feel wholly themselves.”
Hockman said the club plans to begin doing fundraisers to fund positive affirmation posters and other materials in the school hallways.
See below for a list of current GSAs at CPS schools that will be updated. If your school currently has a GSA please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clark Montessori High
Dater High School
Riverview East High
Withrow University High School
Cincinnati Public Schools will be present in the Cincinnati Pride Parade Saturday, June 24. If you would like to march alongside other CPS employees please visit:https://www.cps-k12.org/upcomingevents