Being Queer at Leesville means that the boys in the back of your classroom make f-slur jokes because they know you’re gay.
It means that people are constantly talking behind your back about who you are, and you have to be careful who you trust.
It’s the constant fear that today might be the day you’re involved in a hate crime. Today might be the day your parents find out and throw you out onto the streets.
Being Queer is being yourself and being free. Being Queer means you’re not who others want you to be, but you’re who you want to be.
What does being Queer mean to Students?
Being Queer means dealing with homophobia just because of who you are. All Queers at one point or another deal with harassment and discrimination.
Samantha Dotty, sophomore, said in middle school she was bullied for being Queer. She also commented on how many of her classmates have had a hard time wrapping their heads around who she is.
Kasey Cinnamon, sophomore, said, “I don’t know what people’s beliefs are. It’s unfortunate. I don’t know who I can trust, and who I can’t with my identity. It’s sad.”
Cinnamon also commented on how she sees harassment and homophobia online, and how disgusting it is when other guys at school fetishize Queer people.
According to stonewall.org half of LGBTQ+ pupils hear homophobia slurs frequently at school.
Dotty said, “Be accepting, you don’t have to agree with it or understand it. You just have to respect people. It’s a basic human thing.”
As much as being Queer can be a difficult experience, there are still Queer and LGBTQ+ communities.
Finding others who support you is an important part of being Queer, and finding your identity.
Dotty commented on how even if you feel like you won’t find any Queer people, she guarantees you will, and once you do it will be amazing.
Cinnamon said, “High school can be very lonely. Know that you’re not alone. There are more Queer people than you think there are, and you can always find someone to talk to.”
Dating is a whole different world for Queer people. You can get a lot of hate for showing public affection.
Cinnamon said, “Even though I am seeing someone, I get embarrassed to say it because I don’t know what people’s reactions will be. It’s not as easy as being straight and having a boyfriend.”
History states that the first gay marriage wasn’t until 2004. These are not events that happened hundreds of years ago. Gay marriage is still being discussed at length today. Queer rights are still being discussed at length today.
From the Bible, Leviticus 18:22 “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”
This verse was added in 1983 to shame Queer people, saying it was wrong to be with a male romantically as a male. This verse is one of the root causes of homophobia in Christianity and society.
No one is saying being Christan is wrong and having beliefs is wrong.
It’s wrong to harm another person for what you believe.
It’s wrong to say that your opinion is the only right way in America when everyone has the freedom of their own opinions.
Many Christians use the excuse of the Bible to hurt others, words have an impact.
Cinnamon said, “I think they [Christans who hurt Queer people] are stupid. In the Bible, it was about pedophiles, not gay people. They just changed it.”
Do things need to Change?
When asked if things regarding homophobia at school need to change, James Corton, a sophomore said, “Well if nothing is wrong now, then I guess we don’t need to change anything until there’s a problem.”
A lot of straight people view homophobia like this, not realizing there is a problem because it doesn’t affect them.
Leesville acknowledges homophobia, but nothing is ever done about it. Leesville has a non-discrimination policy, but it is often never put in place.
Cinnamon said, “Reports of homophobia and bullying don’t get handled that well. They just don’t care. We have safe space stickers, but what do they do? Nothing.”
Maurice Moore, assistant principal, commented on how Leesville handles homophobia and discrimination, “I would say that we have a zero-tolerance for discrimination when it comes to that. Whenever it is brought to our attention, we deal with it very swiftly.”
Moore comments on how the administration is intent on holding students accountable for their actions so it never happens again. The administration tries its best to make the student discriminated against, feel safe in their learning environment, and de-escalate the situation.
Homophobic students are punished for their actions, but Moore said, “As it pertains to individual situations, we are not at liberty to share with other students or parents the consequences regarding students.”
This unknown can lead to many different degrees of punishment. It also leads us to wonder if the punishment will be enough to make a student rethink their actions, and learn to be better people.
Supporting and respecting Queer people is human decency. Loving others for who they are is what everyone should strive to achieve. Being Queer isn’t easy, but there will always be those who love you by your side.
I’m Abby and like fashion, music, reading, and nature. Fun fact: I own over 20 plants.