LGBTQ community strives toward equality

Alondra Mata, Editor-in-Chief

   Over the years, Northwest has encountered numerous situations involving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community. Many students believe this is a significant issue because it impacts the student body’s mental health. Since the students have been more open about their identities, bullying could increase.

   Freshman Riley Jones, who prefers the pronouns she/he, noticed many issues of homophobia and transphobia at school, which she finds very disrespectful towards herself and other student members of the LGBTQ community. 

   Although many students do respect the community, there is still a large portion of students who do not make an effort to make these students feel safe or comfortable. 

   “Students who are not a part of the community do not understand the issues we go through, and some do not even attempt to understand either,” said Jones.

   Psychology teacher and Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Club staff advisor, Tracy Dryer, has put forth her best effort to end the issues inside and outside of the club. The club works on finding new ways to support the LGBTQ community and better equip staff to aid students who may need assistance. 

   “We have made a lot of progress in the ten years that I’ve been the staff advisor for GSA,” said Dryer. “We have seen some huge improvements, not just on an individual level but also district-wide.”

   In October, the GSA Club was invited to Albion College to speak to the Education Class, which consists of students looking to pursue careers as academic leaders.

   Four of the GSA members attended to share their experiences, answer questions, and give advice on what people going into education careers can do to help support their future students. 

   The most respectful way a person can help support the LGBTQ community is by being an ally, whose meaning may vary from person to person. Still, to Dryer, it means making sure someone recognizes the issues and bringing attention to them rather than being a bystander. 

   Senior Amelia Hilliard has supported the community for a while and does everything she can to make them feel welcomed around her. Even though Hilliard is not a member of the GSA Club, she still attempts to educate other students who may be curious about the community.

   “One way I show respect to the community is by properly using their preferred pronouns, and if I see any disrespectful actions against anyone in the community, I am quick to stop it,” said Hilliard.

   Despite the frustrations within the school, many people are doing the best they can to make members of the LGBTQ community feel comfortable while attending.