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Queer Straight Alliance

The Queer (Questioning) Straight Alliance (QSA) (formerly Gay Straight Alliance - GSA) meets after-school and is facilitated by Mrs. Siegel and Ms. Lambert .The QSA is a place where kids of all sexualities and gender identities can go to discuss issues having to do with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender life and Human Rights, including coming out, bullying, how to support a friend who comes out to you, how to seek help when you or a friend needs it, and much more. The QSA has been very popular, and there are routinely up to 10 kids at each meeting.

The QSA club meets every Monday 2:30-3:15PM in Room 356. The first meeting of the year will be announced after school has started in September. There is no need to register you can just show up!

Please contact Mrs. Siegel for more information.

Example of activities:

  • we wrote a letter to President Obama thanking him for coming out publicly in support of gay marriage (and he answered back!)

  • we participated in Arlington Town Day

  • we attended the annual conference of the GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) at MIT 

  • we hosted a theater troupe called "True Colors" who performed at the school

  • we participated in GLSEN's Ally Week, No Name Calling Week, and Day of Silence every year

  • we petitioned for and obtained another gender neutral bathroom in the school

  • we collaborated with the sex ed teacher so that the information on gender and sexuality is up to date

Ottoson Middle School Queer Alliance Facebook Page 

Some background information

Ottoson is one of the few middle schools in the state to have a QSA. That Ottoson is one of the pioneering schools to embrace a Gay/Straight Alliance (now the QSA) is a tribute to the forward thinking of our former principal,  Mr. Tim Ruggere, the OMS administration and Gibbs Ottoson Parent Teacher Organization (GO PTO), and numerous staff and parent volunteers. We are also grateful to the generosity of the Arlington Education Foundation, whose generous grant helped get the QSA off the ground back in the spring of 2011. 

A school QSA has a very positive effect on students, staff and families, and contributes to a culture of acceptance and kindness. Our QSA is a very important part of Ottoson’s anti-bullying efforts, and the OMS QSA often collaborates with the OMS Peer Leaders initiative. Arlington High School students say they wish there had been a QSA at Ottoson when they were in middle school, and QSA members have been instrumental in providing information about grade school with the result that a pilot program, The Rainbow Alliance, is being run at Brackett Elementary School for 4th and 5th graders for the school year 2017-2018.

Thanks in part to the QSA, OMS staff, students, and families have more awareness about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender civil rights issues, as well as an increased understanding about how to address bullying language such as “That’s so gay!” This is all very good news, given that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth have a much higher rate of being bullied as well as a much higher rate of self-harming, substance abuse, and suicide than straight youth. The existence of a QSA in school could well be life saving.

This was a group of parents and community members who met monthly to support the QSA. One important task was organizing snack volunteers! Friends also managed the QSA budget and provided chaperones and other assistance for QSA fields trips and other activities. QSA student members were also welcome at our meetings. Friends of the QSA is no longer meeting regularly, but please contact Mrs. Siegel or Ms. Lambert to see what current QSA needs might be. It’s a good bet that homemade snacks would be welcome! If you are interested in learning more about how to support local LGBTQ+ youth outside of school, please contact Mystic LGBTQ+ Youth Support Network (Queer Mystic) at and keep an eye out for information about the new Town of Arlington Rainbow Commission.