On the first day of June, as students walked between classes, an unlikely source of color decorated the campus: rainbow ribbons tied around poles and pillars, put in place by the Alliance club. gender and school sexuality.
These ribbons were placed in honor of Pride Month, an annual celebration of the LGBTQ + community that recognizes the impact these people have had on history. One of the most significant events was the riots that occurred at Stonewall Inn in June 1969, which are often seen as a tipping point for the gay rights movement.
âWe use this month to be proud of who we are,â said Zephyr Jones, Rising Senior and President of GSA. “[Itâs] a tribute to the people of Stonewall, who were proud of who they were.
The celebration of Pride Month allows the historically oppressed LGBTQ + community to educate a wider audience of allies about their past.
âIt honors our history,â said Valerie Whitfield, up-and-coming junior and GSA public relations coordinator. âIt can make people curious. It can make people want to learn “Why June?” “”
Pride month also fosters an environment in which many people can talk more openly about their gender and sexuality while feeling safe.
âPride month is the recognition that we are here, that we have to be accepted,â said Lena Wessel, rising junior and vice president of GSA. “This is a time when we can all come together and celebrate being queer and remember all that we have fought for to get to where we are today, [but]it is also a reminder of all we need to do to be fully equal to the rest of society.
While there have been significant advances in LGBTQ + rights, most queer people still experience homophobic and transphobic remarks or micro-attacks – even within our school and community – whether it is of people using homosexuals in a derogatory way, using insults, making fun of pronouns or fetishizing. sexualities, Jones said.
âNot everyone is perfect, and it could be better, but right now it’s pretty good,â Jones said. “I am very grateful to be here instead of being in other places in the United States where I might not be able to be myself.”
Although homophobia and transphobia are less evident in our community and our school, according to GSA officers, there are still many changes we can implement to create a safer space for people. LGBTQ +. The administration recently invited a few GSA club leaders to speak with them and offer their suggestions on how to make the school more inclusive and more supportive of LGBTQ + students and staff.
âOne of the things we’re trying to promote is more queer representation in the curriculum,â Wessel said.
This queer representation would range from following the LGBTQ + movement through history lessons to examining documents written by authors using the singular pronouns they / them.
In addition, the GSA wants the school to educate staff on the evils of homophobia and better apply a policy of teachers denouncing homophobic behavior in the classroom.
Allies of the LGBTQ + community can engage in simple actions such as asking and sharing pronouns, not perpetuating stereotypes, educating themselves and being open to learning and correction in order to be more inclusive and supportive .
âJust respect people’s identities like you would respect any other aspect of a person,â Jones said.
The internet, the GLAAD website (a platform that promotes acceptance and contains a variety of resources), and gay friends who are comfortable with sharing are all useful resources recommended by GSA for people who want to learn more.
GSA is also an educated resource for everyone, but the space is specifically queer-centric, as implied by their recent rebranding from Queer-Straight Alliance. As well as representing the GSA more appropriately, the club’s name change also pays homage to the original GSA organization, which changed its name from Gay-Straight Alliance to Gender-Sexuality Alliance.
Whether or not it’s Pride Month, GSA is a space open to students who want to connect with other queer students.
âIf you are curious to learn more about gender and sexuality and to spend time with other people who are also interested in exploring gender and sexuality, you should definitely come. [to GSA]”Whitfield said.” We provide support and snacks for all people, but especially those whose gender and sexuality is not considered normal by most people. “