The continuous search for acceptance as LGBTQ+ students


The fear of being accepted is something a good portion of teenagers struggle with, and in today’s society, social media spreads the message that being proud of who you are is important and easy. Despite this, many teens still feel uncomfortable expressing their true selves due to outside factors such as parents and classmates.This is a very valid fear, as not everyone is accepting or respectful of all genders, sexualities, and identities. 

Members of the LGBTQ+ community face this problem more often than other communities, and students often feel that if they share their sexuality with others, they will be treated differently. 

While on campus, there is a lack of a safe space where individuals are free to express their genuine selves, without the fear of being rejected and ridiculed by their peers. The Gay-Straight Alliance Club has many ideas that they are trying to put into effect this school year.

Sadly, there are some students that exhibit negative behavior towards others solely for the way a student chooses to identify. Homophobia is still present on campus, and has not been discussed enough, for far too long. More awareness, and open discussions about the concepts of sexuality and identity, would help to create a more productive classroom setting.

“I have gotten many threats in my DMs on Instagram after I posted a picture with my girlfriend, calling me slurs and sending me death threats,” said junior Audrey Boardman. Sometimes, a lack of respect for others comes from a lack of understanding and knowledge surrounding a topic; if teachers were willing to talk about respect and acceptance for all members of the Perry community, it would go a long way. If students felt more comfortable in their own skin and could express who they truly are, it would make attending school and participating in activities easier. 

“Right now we are figuring out ways to have more inclusivity at Perry, like teachers asking people their pronouns,” said junior Folie Isenhart, a member of the GSA club. Having teachers ask for students’ pronouns would be a very big step towards creating a more comfortable environment for students. 

Many students don’t have accepting parents and families, which can make home life difficult and can cause feelings of invalidation. It would be uplifting if at school, staff and students made more of an effort to call others by their preferred name and pronouns. 

The GSA club is working to make this a more common practice, and possibly make it a requirement for teachers to ask at the beginning of the year, and follow through with using the provided pronouns and names.

The community still has a long way to go towards building a safe and uplifting space for members of the LGBTQ+ community, but there have been attempts over the past couple of years. The GSA club uses fundraisers and meetings to help spread support for members of the LGBTQ+ community. “Two years ago, there was a transgender man in the election for Mr. PHS and I think things like that go a long way in showing support for the community,” said Folie.

The fear of being accepted is a prominent issue and stressor in many teens’ lives today, and it is important to surround yourself with good people that support and love you for who you are. Students should never feel like they have to hide who they are because they fear the judgement of their peers. Every day, we come closer to a fully accepting and inclusive school environment, however to accomplish this, more support for the LGBTQ+ needs to be extended, along with common kindness.