A New Day for LGBTQ+ Youth in the Middle School

Dylan Shapiro, Writer

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Plans have been laid for a GSA (gay-straight alliance) within the Obama middle school. A GSA is an organization which helps people become more educated about the problems that LGBTQ+ students face. It also gives people who are members of the LGBTQ+ community a safe space where they can voice their opinions without fear of transphobia, homophobia, or any other bigotry of any kind. I asked Charlie Schwartz, a person who went to middle school at Obama and then went on to be a member of the GSA for high school, what he thought about this. He said, “I think that, as a queer person in middle school, I would have really benefited from a GSA. Not only would I have a safe space, but I could be more educated on the queer community, which can help with discovering your identity.”

I also interviewed Victor Blackstock, a seventh grader who will head the GSA once it is created. He told me some very interesting things about the logistics of the GSA, specifically when it might happen, when it would be ready to start meeting, in addition to what the benefits would be for him specifically. Firstly, he told me that he believes the GSA should be able to start meeting by the end of the year, which is very good news for anyone who is planning on becoming a member. He also notified me that Ms. Epps, the guidance counselor for middle school, suggested this idea in a meeting within the last few months. He also said, and I quote, “I can actually feel safe at that school, because me and many others don’t feel safe and feel unwanted, and I feel like if we finally found people who wanted to join (me specifically at least) would want to go to see who actually wants to show support or is a part of the community.” Lastly, he said that the GSA would meet during school (most likely during lunch) or after school.

This idea, while many people will feel helped by it, does seem to be kind of late. There have been LGBTQ+ students within the Obama middle school for years. Why has this been withheld, even though there has been a flourishing high school GSA that has been operating for years? I asked Ms. Colbert about this via email over a week ago, and she did not respond.

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