Why We Need A Safe Space For LGBT
Updated: Feb 3
Being a young queer kid in Texas is a difficult thing. According to the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network’s 2013 State Snapshot, almost 90 percent of LGBT students in Texas have reported hearing homophobic remarks directed at them, and Seguin High School is not exempt from this. Entering my freshman year of high school as a 14 year old bisexual teenager, I was hopeful and excited to start a new part of my life and to live my truth after going to a conservative Catholic school for nearly 10 years. However, I soon realized that even in the present day, when big strides for the LGBT community had already been won, I felt a homophobic undertone from the people around me in my day to day life. I heard homophobic slurs like “d**ke” and “f***ot” thrown around constantly, and once my sexuality became known those slurs were directed at me later in my freshman year. I got points and snickers and constant jokes in class. I felt alone and ostracized; I craved a place of sanctuary that didn’t exist. I wasn’t the only LGBT person to feel this discrimination. When asked, 64% of students said they heard homphobic slurs used in school and/or felt targeted because of their sexuality and gender identity.. The solution to this is simple; we need a GSA.
GSA stands for Gay-Straight Alliance/Gender Sexuality Alliance and refers to a safe space, or a club, for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans/non-binary youth, as well as their allies. There they can share stories of their experiences, offer support and advice to their peers, and to help fundraise for LGBT organizations. According to ACLU Texas, over 4000 GSA clubs already exist, so why shouldn’t Seguin High School have one?
A GSA could open so many doors for queer kids to be able to speak their minds and to feel like they belong despite the hostile environments they may come from, whether that be school, homes, their workplace, other clubs, etc. This organization wouldn’t only be used as a place for queer kids, however. It would also be a place for allies of the LGBT community to lend support and be part of the discussions that take place within the club. It would be a place of love and acceptance for all people, regardless of sexuality or gender identity.
As well as being a safe space, a GSA would be able to combat the rampant homophobic undertone that runs through our school. Studies show that schools with GSA’s or LGBT supporting organizations report less homophobic victimization and suicide attempts among young queer students when compared to schools without them.
In conclusion, I can say from personal experience that if I had somewhere to go my freshman year, I would’ve been far better off. I wouldn’t have felt so alone and unrelatable, and perhaps I wouldn’t have even been bullied in the first place had there already been an existing GSA. Perhaps if Seguin High School would institute a LGBT supportive organization, situations like mine can be stopped before they ever happen.