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The LGBTQ community is trying to get bathrooms that allow everyone to feel comfortable

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The LGBTQ community is trying to get bathrooms that allow everyone to feel comfortable

Kyle Mayo-Blake, Sentry Staff Reporter

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) issues have been dominating our cultural landscape for the past couple of months with stories of the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage and the string of stories that we all know too well of discrimination and violence against the queer community. North Carolina and Mississippi are even suing the Justice Department over their controversial anti-LGBTQ laws. Seeing these major problems affecting the country as a whole I decided to see how LGBTQ students felt at school and how we can do better to make them feel more comfortable in their day to day.

From diving into the topic, most of the feedback I received revealed that there was no real outward push back of queer students, but that discrimination was more covert or unaware. On speaking with the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) the main problem seems to be that lack of acceptance of the problems themselves; students will often understand and acknowledge the existence of queer students but may continue to engage in behavior that is still considered offensive. One of the largest sources of contention comes from the over casual use of the word “faggot.” It seems to go unnoticed by the school although the word is widely used among students. This is evident of a larger problem that the GSA has in that the school does not have an outright stance on hate speech towards members of the LGBTQ community. Although not all uses of the word are directed at queer students, the casual use of the word gives a general idea to the lack of knowledge or lack of caring on the part straight cis gendered students.

Lack of information is another problem that the GSA is a contributor to the casual homophobia that occurs within the school. Some students are just not aware that what they might be saying could be seen as offensive. Offering some kind of general knowledge such as a pamphlet in a first day packet can go a long way in bettering the situation within the school.

One of the largest undertakings of the GSA this year was securing a gender-neutral bathroom. This was a large step forward for allowing students  who do not align with the traditionally gendered bathrooms a place to use the restroom. However, the GSA is having a hard time letting queer and transgender students know about the bathroom as they have not been allowed to air a promo letting students know it exists. According to the GSA, the school administration is concerned that the bathroom can be a target for violence and thus wants to keep it under the radar. While that is a problem that could arise, that idea doesn’t sit well with me; if students know about the bathroom then it just opens up the door for queer and transgender students to find a place that makes them more comfortable. If violence does occur then deal the students responsible instead of restricting a place that is greatly needed by members of the school.

In my mind, for Yorktown to really better their stance on LGBTQ students they should take an official stance on the problems that students face and publically implement information and policies to make their situation at the school better. Simply allowing the GSA to talk to faculty at a meeting for a couple minutes is not enough to get across the information needed. Understanding and learning pronouns and finding a way to not always constrict the standard gender binary are both things that are imperative for teachers to understand so they don’t they leave out a section of the student body. Establishing a concrete knowledge of the LGBTQ community is a much needed step for the betterment of public education and inclusion of a population of students who have been left to the wayside for far too long.

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The student news site of Yorktown High School
The Road to Acceptance