Support LGBTQ Students

Kennedi Priest, Class of 2021

Fourteen percent; eleven percent; and nine percent of male students in grades eight; ten; and 12, respectively, reported being bullied because of perceived sexual orientation. For female students in those grades, the numbers were eleven percent; ten percent; and six percent, respectively, according to a study published May 16, 2020 in the American Journal of Public Health. The research team analyzed responses collected in a 2010 Washington State survey of more than 24,000 public school students in grades eight-12. The year is now 2021 and LGBTQ rights are talked about everywhere, but this makes some students uncomfortable or angry. As a result, school-aged students are bullied, disrespected and looked down upon based on sexual orientation. WCHS needs to better support the LGBTQ community becuase students are bullied at school and students feel unwelcome at school.

For starters, a large number of students are bullied in school. In an article published by titled “LGBTQ Youth” published September 2017, a study showed that of 20 percent of students bullied, ten percent of those students identify as LGBTQ. Places where bullying can be controlled, like at school, is normally handled pretty well; but places that it’s unavoidable, like the internet, can be a complete nightmare for LGBTQ students.  This means for every five people in your third period class, one of them is getting bullied and you don’t even know it. But why should you care, right? According to a July 2020 NBC news article, The Trevor Project analyzed that 40 percent of LGBTQ students considered suicide due to bullying. This means every two in five LGBTQ teens getting bullied considers suicide. This is why we need more awareness for this matter at WCHS.

Equally important, WCHS should raise awareness for LGBTQ students becuase students feel unwelcome and unsafe in school. Alongside bullying, LGBTQ students feel unwanted in their place of learning. In a 2018 survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, nearly eight in ten students reported feeling depressed or down within the previous week and only a quarter surveyed said they feel safe at school. During a normal school year, WCHS students spend five seven-hour days at school. When students go to school, no one wants to wake up every day knowing they have to spend seven hours somewhere they feel like an outcast from everyone else. GLSEN, an organization founded by a group of teachers in 1990 that creates affirming learning environments for LGBTQ youth, organized a study that found out that 53.6 percent of students missed school because of feeling unsafe or uncomfortable. It’s sad to hear that students’ opportunity to receive education is demolished by disrespectful students or nonchalant school administrators. Consequently, the fact of matter is that WCHS administrators and students need to be more informed about LGBTQ awarenesses. 

Some may say that pushing for more LGBTQ awarenesss at WCHS is “unfair” to other minority groups. WCHS has a club in the school called Culture Club. Club advisor Mrs. Jeanne Ulrich informed me Culture Club was started about 20-25 years ago by a teacher named Kathy Lakes with around 50 students involved each year from many different cultures. The goal of Culture Club is to put on a fun assembly while also educating students about different cultures.  Within the group, students learn how to get along with each other and celebrate the diversity within the group.  Culture Club is an amazing club no doubt and while it’s very critical that students learn about different cultures, it’s also important that students push for their sexuality rights to be acknowledged too. 

LGBTQ rights is a never ending argument and is something that will never go away. The push for school support will never go away. At the start of the 2021 semester, WCHS instituted a new club to support it’s LGBTQ students. The Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) is curently welcoming all WCHS students to join. If you are interested in GSA, you can talk to adviser Mr. Matthew Reynolds or senior Bradley Scearce. Or, simply join their Google Classroom! Please use your school email to sign in and code B3Q6ZWC to join. This is a big step in making change in WCHS. There is a light at the end of the tunnel in the near future for the LGBTQ students here at WCHS, but it cannot be found without the support of the administration and the student body.