Posing under the balloon rainbow they created to welcome Monmouth County teenage visitors to the fourth annual Gayla, are members of the RBR Gay-Straight Alliance. The Gayla welcomes all open-minded teenagers to come and enjoy one another’s company for a fun night of music, dance and refreshments. The event is sponsored by the MakeItBetter4YouthFoundation, Monmouth County’s consortium for LGBT youth.
Press release from Red Bank Regional High School
On May 30, the Red Bank Regional High School Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) hosted the fourth annual Gayla. Over 100 students from over 15 high schools in Monmouth County strolled under the balloon rainbow toward the RBR Commons, where they enjoyed great music, dancing, food and lots of fun. The Gayla is sponsored by the MakeItBetter4Youth Foundation, Monmouth County’s consortium for LGBT youth. All open-minded teenagers (13 to 19 years old) were welcome.
GSA adviser Stacy Liss commented, “Anyone who was at the Gayla felt the positive energy and happiness. Students danced and mingled with others from outside the RBR community. The RBR GSA, under the leadership of Siobhan Hansen, did an outstanding job planning and setting up for the event.” Students from Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School GSA, came over to RBR to help set up, demonstrating community support.
“While there were many attendees who identify as LGBT at the Gayla, there were just as many allies present who identify as heterosexual,” added Liss. “The point of these makeitbetter4youth events is to promote an opportunity for free expression of who you are and not to be boxed in or labeled. The GSA is comprised of open minded young people, who care about the rights of others and who are willing to speak out on ensuring that people have a right to be who they are and love who they want.”
MakeItBetter4Youth is a regional consortium of educators, community members, arts organizations, and other professionals that understand the limited nature of normative social and educational opportunities for LGBT youth. They have collaborated as a supportive community to create spaces, events (like the Gayla) and learning experiences for students.