A video has emerged of a California middle school teacher giving a presentation in 2019 detailing how she and her husband engaged in numerous unethical and potentially illegal practices to start a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) club at Rosemont Middle School in the Glendale Unified School District.
Middle school English teacher Lisa Avery gave the presentation titled Instant GSA: (Just add kids!) at the California Teachers’ Association LGBTQ+ Issues Conference in 2019. During the talk, she gave a detailed explanation of how she and her husband, Alex Guthman, who was at the time the Mental Health Counselor at Rosemont, poached club leaders from the counseling office, bribed students with food in order to build up the club’s numbers, and coerced the reluctant principal into agreeing to allow the LGBTQ club.
A detailed analysis of the presentation was published on the Gender LCGB Substack which highlighted many of the questionable tactics used by the husband and wife in launching the group.
First, Avery acknowledges that the Equal Access Act requires that student clubs be student-led, meaning that they must be initiated by and led by the students and participation must be voluntary.
“So GSAs are student-led clubs,” explained Avery. “So the very first thing we needed to do was we needed to find our students.” Avery did this by approaching students who were known to identify as “LGBTQ” or were strong allies, and asking them, “hey, a group of people are talking about starting a GSA. Is that something you’d be interested in being involved with?”
As Gender LCGB points out, this is “manipulation,” in that it is phrased as if their peers wanted to start the club, when really it was a group of teachers, "in clear violation of Federal law and the district’s own rules."
Avery then makes the remarkable confession that the GSA club leaders were poached from her husband’s counseling office, highlighting the difficulty that presented.
“It wasn’t easy. First of all, our leaders were unreliable. Remember, we had poached them from the counseling office. Right? They were not the most emotionally stable students. Actually, they were the least emotionally stable students on campus.” This was met with laughter from the audience.
This shocking confession shows a lack of professionalism on the part of Guthman, who breached the ethics of his profession by sharing information about the mental health of the students he was counseling.
To make matters worse, they “purposefully chose children who they knew were vulnerable,” says Gender LCGB, who cautions Glendale Unified School District parents to be aware that there is a precedent for egregious breaches of student confidentiality by school counselors.
Then there’s an anecdote about bullying the principal into agreeing to the club, in which Guthman apparently confronted her in the school parking lot and “used choice four-letter words.” Following this, the principal gave in to their demands.
Avery later brags to the audience that some members of the GSA call her “mom.”
“You will find you need to counsel students. Like in my example with the girl who sat in my classroom crying, right? That was not an isolated incident. I have a fundamentally different relationship to my students now that I run a GSA than I did five years ago. Right? Some of them call me ‘mom.’ Right? That’s just how it is now,” she explains, and no one in the audience interrupts to question this violation of boundaries.
Avery explained that setting the club meetings for lunchtime and offering food was a great way to build up the numbers and encourage students to join, and remarkably admits to not explaining to the middle school students what GSA stood for, but suggests this was done for reasons of safety. In recent years, the meaning of the acronym has evolved from Gay Straight Alliance to Gender and Sexuality Alliance, but both are still in use.
“So we opened up our club first by having the leaders invite their friends, and then when those friends came, we invited their friends. And then we invited their friends. And do you know what helped? We fed them every single time. So after several weeks, we started putting announcements in the bulletin, ‘The Rainbow Gems are meeting today at lunch, it’s a GSA,’ but we didn’t say what GSA was.”
Gender LCGB wonders how many would have attended if they had known what GSA meant.
Avery also made openly disparaging comments about conservative, Korean, and Armenian families and Mormons, implying that they were homophobic without offering any evidence.
She also confessed to manipulating parents by making the club an issue of “student safety,” which parents find difficult to respond to. When another teacher asked to watch a GSA meeting, Avery described how she had to “perform the role of bouncer to protect kids.”
Naturally, as with most school GSAs these days, there was an element of secrecy to this one, with Avery advising teachers who might be planning to open their own club to be careful what they say, “especially with parents.”
Another bit of advice was to disguise your GSA club as a “Diversity club” or a “Kindness club,” for those schools that don’t permit GSAs.
Avery even supports GSAs being formed in elementary schools, because “by age 4, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children have a stable sense of their gender identity.”
She then tells the audience that two Glendale Unified elementary schools had “Baby GSAs” at the time of the presentation. That was in 2019, and Gender LCGB wonders how many there are in 2023.
Recommended resources include the ubiquitous Genderbread Person, and the Kinsey scale, which allows a person to evaluate their sexual orientation on a sliding scale from heterosexual to homosexual. Alfred Kinsey, creator of the scale, is most famous for asserting the claim that children are sexual from birth and conducting pedophilic “research” involving bringing children (as young as 5 months) to orgasm.
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