Our GSA Gives Me
and made a difference. One of their first actions was getting some official school forms to read “parents” instead of “mother” and “father.” At the time I didn’t get the connection. When we brainstormed ideas, I was thinking big (large presentations, signs, videos), but our leaders reminded me that to do something big, you have to start small. I thought
we would continue with similar small changes around the school but, once again, I was wrong. They immediately started involving the whole school in events and discussions about the LGBTQ community—specifically LGBTQ youth and the
bullying that many go through.
Last year I participated in Wellington’s production of “The Laramie Project,” the play that chronicles reactions to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard. Our theatre department even brought in a speaker from the Matthew Shepard Foundation to talk to our GSA and other student leaders, and I was humbled to be part of this powerful theatrical experience.
I also participated in the “The Day of Silence,” to draw attention to anti-LGBT harassment and discrimination. This day has a special place in my heart because I was bullied when I was younger. It was not for being gay (since as far as I know I am not), but for things like my weight and overall appearance. The day felt as if somewhere in the universe there were many people who supported me, even if they didn’t know who I was.
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I spent that school day silent. At first I wrote on a notepad, and then I realized that this day was not about not communicating verbally—it was about not communicating at all. If a screaming Matthew Shepard couldn’t reach Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson with his voice, writing a letter wasn’t going to make any difference. Writing notes felt like cheating to me, so I continued that day absolutely silent and on my own. I felt lonely, and my talkative, extroverted self felt odd. But that’s what the pain and ignorance of others can do to a
person—make them feel alone and like they can’t be themselves. I wanted to respect and try to understand the pain that so many others go through, people who do not volunteer to be isolated but who are forced into it as a means of survival.
Although a Gay-Straight Alliance is about informing ourselves and others about serious issues in the world, we do have fun. In May, a group of friends and I went to the locally-sponsored “The Other Prom,” for LGBTQ youth who might feel uncomfortable at their school’s prom. We let loose—it took my mind off my 10 page paper due the next day, and I ended up having a dance-off with a transgender girl who was sassier and spicier than RuPaul. Our Wellington GSA also marched in this year’s LGBTQ Pride Parade, where we passed out information about our club and received high fives from drag queens and many others. It was the highlight of my summer.