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Why I Go to the BAHS QSA

by Elizabeth P., Eli N., Wini N., and Charlotte K., BAHS QSA members

The Boston Area Homeschoolers’ Queer-Straight Alliance provides local homeschoolers the opportunity to interact with like-minded peers in a supportive and inclusive environment. The only space of its kind, the BAHS QSA is more than just a social group for teens: it provides a unique perspective on homeschooling and growing up in Massachusetts, especially as an LGBTQ+ teen. As members of the BAHS QSA, teens are given the opportunity to forge connections with one another across town lines and across all manner of intersecting identities. In contrast to a formal schooling environment, in which teens are often restricted to interacting only with their peers who live in the same town in a GSA setting or otherwise, the BAHS QSA connects LGBTQ+ homeschoolers and their allies from several towns and cities in the Metrowest area.

The homeschooling community is, at its very roots, an already diverse community. From unschooling to dual enrollment, from urban to rural environments, every homeschooler’s experience is different. At the BAHS QSA, these differences are celebrated and explored in every facet, and the group explores the nuances of the homeschooling experience through the lens of social justice and LGBTQ+ rights. Not one member of the BAHS QSA has an experience identical to another, and we take pride in providing teens the opportunity to meet peers from the diverse walks of life in the world of homeschooling.

Not only in homeschooling experience are the BAHS QSA teens diverse, but a wide range of ages in the group provides a variety of perspectives on LGBTQ+ issues. Our members' ages have ranged from twelve to eighteen, and our group leader, Anna Watson, an out adult lesbian, provides us with an intergenerational perspective which might not be available in a school-based GSA. This diversity in age provides a multitude of opportunities for youth of varying ages to learn from each other.

Participating in a group where so many different experiences converge not only allows teens to better understand the ideas and issues of other homeschoolers, but even allows them to learn more about themselves. Whether we are collaborating with True Story Theater, or hosting a Drag Prom, we are always working on creative ways for homeschooling teens to grow and explore their strengths and identities.

Both homeschoolers and LGBTQ+ youth face unique challenges that their formally schooled or cisgender, heterosexual peers might not. The BAHS QSA understands these challenges, both separately and at their intersection, and our members discuss them openly and with purpose. While issues specifically pertaining to LGBTQ+ homeschoolers may often go unnoticed or underappreciated, we at the BAHS QSA take them on with understanding and experience.

The BAHS QSA not only provides a comfortable space for education on issues central to our lives, whether it be on social justice and LGBTQ+ topics or on the experiences of fellow homeschoolers from across the state, but provides an open, casual culture where teens can truly feel as though they’re making a change. It is so rewarding to be a part of a group which actively advocates for LGBTQ+ rights and is always making waves in the homeschooling community.

As one of our members, Charlotte, says: “Trying to change the world alone isn’t fun!”