Emphasizing the Day of Silence and actively listening to LGBTQ voices
For some, the GSA Club is a sanctuary of support and comfort. This club is a place where students can turn for expression of gender and sexuality, and to support LGBTQ causes, such as the upcoming Day of Silence. Gender Sexuality Alliance clubs are typically student-run clubs with the goal of LGBTQ expression and safety. Obesity, depression drug use, and struggling with academics are higher within LGBTQ youth. With the help of GSA, members are encouraged to have open conversation to discuss these stressors and the impact it makes. According to the National School Climate survey, 55 percent of LGBTQ students felt unsafe in their school environment because of their sexual orientation, and 37 percent felt unsafe due to their gender expression. According to sophomore and GSA member, Elliot Estey, the GSA club has been a place where he can feel understood for his experiences. The club is a place where members can go to talk about discrimination they have faced as well as recommendations on how to learn to have self-love for sexual and gender identification.
“The GSA Club has helped me find people who I am comfortable expressing my struggles with that others may not understand as well. I can talk to people who have insight on things I’ve gone through because they’ve been in the same place,” said Estey.
For people who aren’t members of the club, there are many ways to show support for the LGBTQ community and to protest intolerance, such as partaking in the Day of Silence. April 23 is the National Day of Silence to recognize the discrimination the LGBTQ community faces. Anyone can participate, just by staying silent during the day to protest harassment and bullying.
“April 23 is the Day of Silence and it is a day when students take a vow of silence to symbolically represent the silencing of LGBTQ people and students. It is an annual day of action to spread awareness about the effects of the bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning students. People can participate by choosing to take the vow of silence, and they do need to let me know they are participating so I can let their teachers know. It also helps by donating to the Trevor Project,” said club advisor Kelly Nelson. There will be a table during lunch waves during the week of April 23 to take donations to contribute to the cause.
“People can show their support for the LGBTQ+ community by honestly just being a decent person. One of the easiest ways to make someone feel understood and safe is to just listen, even if you can’t relate to what they’re talking about. Also, ask people their pronouns. This is a really important step to being a good ally, as not everyone identifies the same or uses the pronouns they ‘look’ like they would use,” said Estey.