Stand with queer students

TW: This column mentions homophobia and hate speech/crimes.


Aero Gartner, Reporter

Five dead. Twenty five injured.  I came to school on Nov. 21 in a somber state after seeing my Instagram feed filled with post after post about one thing: a mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs. 

Despite this tragedy, when I walked into school that day, everything was business as usual for those around me. As a queer person myself, I was incredibly disappointed that no one had taken a moment to remember the victims of this heinous crime. Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving, Raymond Green Vance, and Ashley Paugh were their names.

LT should be doing more to ensure that its queer students feel seen. When I walked into the building the Monday after the shooting, I was met with my friend hunched over crying in the hallway. His computer was open to an article about the tragedy. My heart shattered. We sat in silence together until the bell rang. We were then asked to stand and pledge our allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America.

Moments in our history such as this should not be met with silence from the LT community, especially considering how distraught so many queer students are over these events. While it’s understandable that so many have become incredibly accustomed to these recurring tragedies, silence inadvertently forces those grieving to mourn silently as well. 

Enough is enough. The queer community has been ignored for far too long, and so many cries for help have been disregarded. For example, the 2021-2022 All-School Assembly was put on the same day as a national, student-led demonstration referred to as the GLSEN Day of Silence. This is the one day a year when queer people and allies alike refuse to speak in protest of the mistreatment of the LGBTQ+ community. The All-School Assembly at LT, of course, revolves around people making noise. Instead of attempting to place the assembly on a different day or honoring the Day of Silence by having a moment of silence, they asked the crowd to “make some noise” for the community. We were met by hundreds of boos and shouts mixed in with the cheers. There were no repercussions or further discussions about this negativity, and the community as a whole seemed to forget that this had even happened by the time we were dismissed from school that day. This was nothing more than a reminder to every queer person in the room that they were not entirely welcome, and put a damper on the rest of the assembly for many.

The irony has not escaped me that the queer community has been met with silence from LT seemingly every day except the Day of Silence. Thoughtless misgendering and deadnaming of transgender students, the harassment so many of us have faced at the hands of other students, and the blatant disregard the administration seems to have for our pain has been wearing down LT’s queer community for as long as I’ve been a student.

All it takes to make us feel seen and welcomed is to listen and speak out with us. Help transgender students make name changes easier instead of leaving us in the dark. Take immediate action when a student comes to you with a complaint about harassment. Grant us the integrity of our correct names and pronouns. Keep up to date with the programs, clubs, and communities you have put in place for us. And when something happens in the queer community, whether good or bad, make it known that you are taking notice of these events. Our community needs your support.