Labels are themes we try to fit ourselves into, but in a club that supports and encourages young students to embrace their identities, none of those labels seem to matter when you’re in an inclusive and safe space.
The LGBTQIA+ club is a place for students of different sexualities and identities to congregate and support each other when no one else seems to. In this generation, not everyone has someone to talk to about troubles they might face, or challenges they seem to come across with themselves. People of all different genders and sexualities need a safe space in their lives, especially if they feel unsupported or lost. It’s important for young students’ growth to figure out their identities and be able to question themselves before anyone else can. In this generation, people questioning their sexualities should be considered as normal instead of out of place, and they should never be judged as a bad thing. Identity is a key part of a students’ life, everyone is still growing and learning, that’s why we go to school. In LGBTQIA+ club students should be able to have this space to grow and learn together, where we learn about each other and issues in our community to become more inclusive and involved.
“I believe the club was inclusive, but there were times when it was obvious that certain students were being excluded by friend groups already made in the club,” said grade 11 Kai Vandersluys, in response to how inclusive this club is. He mentioned how many of the students in the club were in specific groupings based on their friends, and students rarely strayed away from being with people they already knew. This seemed to be an ongoing problem, especially in a club that’s made for inclusivity and connecting with other people in the LGBTQIA+ community. One solution to encouraging that everyone is involved is to have group activities or events that everyone can participate in.
Grade 12 Cat Weisner had some suggestions. “We need to be more heavily supported and advertised by the school; the teachers learn how to properly handle a situation that involves neuro-divergent kids “misbehaving” or doing things that aren’t acceptable to how they see fit” Ms. Thomasen and Monica, the leaders of the club, can get more involved and be more supportive towards the students if they learn about the kids in the club that are a part of our generation, and the struggles they’re going through. Another suggestion is that the club could be student led; that way the students would have more of a say in what they wanted to do in the club and can connect on a personal level and learn from each other. The teachers can learn a lot more from the students about LGBTQIA+ than the other way around.
This club is a bit under the radar and seems to not be well known by most people. There might be some advertisements here and there, but the real reason why it isn’t talked about is because no one seems to want to talk about it. Most students in the club are introverted people who don’t like to open up or come out to people they feel uncomfortable around; therefore, when teachers ask to include the club in activities, they often decline. To most club members, the assumption is that it seems to not be talked about because the majority of the students in the school are cisgender and straight, so they don’t have many connections to LGBTQ+ people. “Try to bring everyone together with smaller events like field trips or group discussions that can help people socialize,” said grade 11 Alastor Madsen when he was asked how we can improve the club. Even if there aren’t many events for the club, advertising events can let it be known and the club could be more involved in our school.