Q & Gay with LGBTQ+ students

Q & Gay with LGBTQ+ students

The Pitch sat down with LGBTQ+ students at WJ to highlight their experiences. WJ is known to be quite a liberal school and welcoming to all kinds of people, so we decided to interview our peers to get the full scoop.

Glossary:

Non-Binary: Non-binary gender describes any gender identity which does not fit the male and femaile binary.

Genderqueer: a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.

Queer: is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual and/or not cisgender.

 

Lee Reber – Grade 12, Gender Identity – non-binary, Pronouns – they/them 

Senior Lee Reber

How has being part of the GSA influenced your life? Have you had good experiences come out of it?

“GSA has helped me make friends and has given me a community. I have had great experiences with GSA, and it was a great resource for support when I came out freshman year. Now I am a senior and the president.”

Has WJ been accepting to you as an LGBTQ+ student? Why or why not?

“WJ has been somewhat accepting. It isn’t really clear, since we do not really talk about LGBTQ issues in school. I do hear awful comments from people sometimes in school, which is disappointing. However, overall the staff are great at accommodating for LGBTQ students and bettering their ally-ship.”

What do you wish people understood about being in the LGBTQ+ community that they may not know?

“I wish that people knew that not every LGBTQ person is the same. We all have vastly different ways to describe ourselves. I wish there was more respect for transgender folks. Non-binary people are valid and read. We are not just ‘attack helicopters’ or the butt of a joke. Those jokes hurt. Being in the LGBTQ community is rewarding, but also difficult when there are so many forces against us. We have the focus on progress and on the support we do have.”

Evyn Hoon – Grade 11, Sexual Identity – Queer, Pronouns – she/her

Junior Evyn Hoon

How has being part of the GSA influenced your life? Have you had good experiences come out of it?

“I’ve been a part of GSA since the first week of my freshman year, so it’s been a part of my life for a long time. In that time, I have discovered more and more about myself and my relation with sexuality and gender. I have also have become more informed about what being LGBTQ means to others.”

Has WJ been accepting to you as an LGBTQ+ student? Why or why not?

“WJ has been very acceptive of my sexuality. I’ve never experienced discrimination due to my sexuality in this school. There are always some distasteful jokes floating around the halls, which isn’t great, but overall our school is a pretty safe space for LGBTQ kids.”

What do you wish people understood about being in the LGBTQ+ community that they may not know?

“I wish people knew that being LGBTQ doesn’t make someone ‘other.’ You’d be surprised how people change their behavior when a friend comes out [or] mentions their gender or sexuality. I want WJ students to be aware that coming out is a difficult and emotional thing, but the fact that they’re someone ‘different’ – they’re still normal high school kids. Also, any students who still use ‘gay’ as an insult need to stop.”

Erin Hurst – Grade 10, Gender Identity – Gender Queer, Pronouns – they/them

Sophomore Erin Hurst

How has being part of the GSA influenced your life? Have you had good experiences come out of it?

“GSA has become more or less my go-to club and it provides me a place to feel safe, valid and free to be me unapologetically.”

Has WJ been accepting to you as an LGBTQ+ student? Why or why not?

“My close friends have been supporting from the day I considered I was LGBTQ, but the population of WJ has a long way to go before it gets a similarly glowing review.”

What do you wish people understood about being in the LGBTQ+ community that they may not know?

“I wish they knew that being LGBTQ is not a choice and certainly not for attention. If it was, why would we put ourselves in harm’s way like this if being this way was an option?”

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