Assembly opens dialogue on LGBTQ issues

it gets betterBy: Tehya Tournier

Cool chills swept over the crowd Wednesday morning, Sept. 16, as invited students swarmed the auditorium to hear the smooth voices of seven individuals using song and stories to share their message of positivity, warmth and the knowledge to lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual youth that it does get better.

The group is called the It Gets Better Project, and junior Henry Shockley was one of the students who was moved by the show. “I thought it was amazing,” he said.  “It just felt really welcoming, and it was really inspirational, and it was just a very, very positive and uplifting experience.”

The assembly touched on bullying online and directly, as the seven Project members shared their stories followed by a short-length Q&A. The questions and concerns rose up even more as the assembly died down and more students stuck around to come relate with the It Gets Better Group.

“I think a lot of it at this school is behind closed doors,” Shockley said. “People throw derogatory words around and are mean behind each other’s back, but I don’t really see any direct, face to face, flat out bullying in that context.”

When statistics like those from show 82 percent of LGBTQ had problems with bullying regarding their sexual orientation during the school year, students at the assembly appreciated the candid discussion on understanding LGBTQ perspectives while avoiding hurtful paths.

“There were some people there you wouldn’t expect to be there just because they’re popular and they’re jocks, and they aren’t really involved in the LGBTQ community.  I think it was interesting to see their reaction and hear what they had to say,” junior Albie Nicol said.   “I know personally, that is was weird for me because I know some of them had bullied me, and it was weird to see them in such an accepting environment when they had bullied me before.”

Just after the last few selected students lingered, they made their way to a conference room and received an opportunity to be in a workshop with three of the seven members who sang and spoke at the assembly. The classmates used the chance to explain the pros, the cons and their opinions on the current status of the high school in a second to second video about SAGE.

SAGE stands for Sexuality and Gender Equality. The club strives to promote conversation, safe expression and relationships between different ideologies. It also promotes intersectionality, keeping an open mind and maintaining one’s beliefs and challenging the status quo.

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