LGBT community met with various reactions

Students face intolerance over controversial issue


Photo illustration by Emilee Johnson

Two students hold hands in the C wing hallway. Those who identify as LGBT have been more open about holding hands in school.

By Chloe Presley-Gundaker, Smithson Valley High School

Taking a deep breath, nerves on edge, she was unsure what response she would get. Walking through the halls, holding hands with her girlfriend, she knew what they were thinking: the smirks, the snarls and the questioning looks said it all.

No one ever knows the response they will get when they take that leap. Despite the throng of people who will never accept it, society is slowly learning to understand those individuals inside the LGBTQ community.

“[Administration] has noticed students are becoming more vocal on campus and want to be heard,” principal Michael Wahl said. “We try to provide avenues for that through organizations and clubs where they can feel safe and comfortable.”

Despite these changes, people run into the ideology of love being wrong on a daily basis.

“I don’t pass judgment on people,” Alicia Boswell* said. “I don’t understand how being gay could be considered wrong,”

People across campus expressed their opinions, wanting their stories to be heard, and most of the time, it isn’t always met with support.

“The topic of there is only two genders came up, and they started harassing me about how it’s wrong to be apart of the LGBTQ community,” Alice Dodson* said. “If you’re not straight, it’s wrong kind of deal.”

Those who harbor prejudices towards the LGBTQ community might not have gotten the chance to format their own opinion on the subject. In high school, most people start to form their own opinions and/or question things they have been “warned” about.

“It’s the fact that people don’t understand (that words are hurtful), that is the issue,” Alexis Taylor* said. “It can be difficult to explain.”

People who aren’t in full support of the subject aren’t necessarily homophobic. It’s more of just an annoyance for how much the topic seems to be raised.

“It’s not that I don’t support it that’s the issue for me,” Andy Travis* said. “It’s the fact that it is constantly shoved in my face on a daily basis.”

Some aren’t as approving of others.

“If you ask me to call you a certain pronoun, I’m going to have to say no,” Carl Reeves* said. “When people say that, it makes me think you’re high maintenance, and I don’t like to associate myself with high maintenance people.”

Social worker Kim Lehmann, whose office in the upstairs A wing, said the best way to address the situation is to help people understand what is right and what is wrong.

“I come across a lot of people who have been succumbed to bullying for (being in the LGBTQ+ community),” Lehmann said. “The best thing we can do to help them is raising awareness on it, make sure people know that there are resources to learn, and just talk.”

Lehmann offers resources in her office for students struggling with identity and bullying.

“I want people who are hiding their sexuality to love themselves, and for them to know they’re loved and appreciated,” Gia Robinson* said. “Even if they don’t know that, they should know they aren’t alone in any of their difficulties. They just have to speak up.”

This story was originally published on Valley Ventana on March 8, 2019.