LGBT+ Students on What it’s Like Being Queer at Obama

LGBT%2B+Students+on+What+it%E2%80%99s+Like+Being+Queer+at+Obama

You’re walking down the hallway when from behind you someone calls out “dyke!” You turn around only to realize that the words and laughter were directed at you. This is something that some LGBT+ students have to face on a day-to-day basis. For this article, five LGBT+ students from seventh through twelfth grade were anonymously interviewed to find out what it’s like being queer at Obama Academy.

 

Silas Maxwell Switzer: Are you out at Obama? If so to what extent?

A.I.: Yes, fully.

T.R.: Yes I’m out as gay, if someone asks me I’ll tell them so, same with being genderqueer.

L.F.: Yes, most people know.

P.N.: Yes and this is my second year.

H.K.: I’ve never really considered myself to be in the closet but at the same time there’s some people I’d rather not let know about my sexual orientation. So I guess I’m out to the people I can trust or who I’m hoping won’t mind.

 

S.M.S.: Do you think Obama Academy is an accepting environment for LGBT people?

A.I.: To a certain degree. The environment is more hostile to queer people than not, but certainly not as bad as it could be.

T.R.: Parts of it can be accepting, others not so much.

L.F.: Hell no.

P.N.: The school itself is kinda accepting but the kids aren’t that accepting.

H.K.: I think some kids can be more accepting than others. I think there’s a lot of religious people who are biased without realizing.I also think people use  the word “gay” as an insult largely. But I do think there is a large portion of accepting people at Obama for LGBT people.

 

S.M.S.: Do you feel personally safe and comfortable as a queer person at Obama? Specifically in relation to the general student body.

A.I.: Not really. There have only been a couple of instances of queer-phobia directed at me personally, but the general amount of people usually making jokes about queer people and casually using words like “faggot” and “dyke” makes me really uncomfortable and feel less than 100% safe.

T.R.: Being gay I mainly feel comfortable but being trans I don’t feel that safe.

L.F.: I do because I’ll fight somebody.

P.N.: Yes

H.K.: I don’t personally feel safe and comfortable all the time at Obama simply because I can’t take the stares. The constant judging and watching can be exhausting. When you’re out people have a lot more to say and that takes away the personal safety and comfortability out of the scheme of things.

 

S.M.S.: On a scale of 1-10 rate the level of homophobia that you feel Obama Academy has as a whole with 1 being the least homophobia and 10 being the most.

A.I.: 7/10

T.R.: 4/10

L.F.: 6.5/10

P.N.: 4/10

H.K.: 6/10

 

S.M.S.: What do you think could be done to raise awareness about LGBT issues/people at Obama?

A.I.: More GSA presence, better education, not only in 10th grade health, but discussions in Civics, English, and (possibly) TOK across years.

T.R.: Talk about the LGBTQIA+ community in health (in depth).  

L.F.: More awareness events/assemblies.

P.N.: I think the school can’t do much but I think the school should handle the bullying toward us like they would any other type of bullying.

H.K.: I think kids should be taught how to be sensitive to LGBT issues and that can be taught in classroom from trusted admins and other staff members.

 

The general consensus of the interviewees seems to be that Obama Academy has some issues with LGBT+ awareness and acceptance but it could be a lot worse. Most do not feel entirely safe and comfortable in the school environment, whereas comfort is a given for a lot of other students at Obama. Slurs are used daily in classrooms and hallways, and while they are mostly not specifically directed at a person, they do create the idea that the entire LGBT+ community is bad or lesser. There are things that can be done by teachers and students to stop this kind of bullying, and the hope is that those things can be done to create a more safe and comfortable school environment.