LGBTQ+ students seek understanding, not harassment


Amy Overhulser, Executive News Editor

There are LHS students in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer community (LGBTQ+) who have been relentlessly bullied and taunted because of who they are.

We don’t want LHS to be on that list of schools where this type of bullying, or any bullying for that matter, takes place. 

We are not that insensitive.

While there are those who support (or at least tolerate) the LGBTQ+ community at LHS, there are the loud and bold few who do not.

For those few, I have a message for you: Before you go after the LGBTQ community and harass them, just stop.

Stop the hatred.  

Stop creating problems when there’s no need for them.

Stop using your beliefs as an excuse to bully these students.

Stop hating on a whole community.

Just stop.

Before you judge this group based on political, religious or other beliefs, get to know one LGBTQ+ person and then choose what you think.

I understand that some people have specific religious or political beliefs, but isn’t religion about kindness? Aren’t politics about making the country better for everyone?  

Perhaps try thinking about who these people are beyond their label rather than just the label itself―don’t lose sight of the person and their identity.

Don’t let your beliefs stand in the way of making new friends. Get to know the person before judging them; find out who they are and what they identify as.

Below are stories from members of the LGBTQ+ community.  Take the time to read them.  Then maybe you will understand where they are coming from. 

And then maybe the bullying, harassment and hatred can finally end. 

Sam O’Neil

(Name has been changed for privacy reasons)

“I’m pansexual, which means that I’m attracted to anyone, no matter what they identify as,” said O’Neil, who is a member of the Gay Straight Alliance [GSA] club. “It’s unacceptable how many times I’ve heard ‘gay’ used inappropriately and friends saying ‘no homo’ to each other; it’s just not right.”

Derik Pignone

Junior Derik Pignone is gay and proud of it. Though he personally has never been targeted or victimized, Derik has seen and heard these types of phrases said.

“When I hear it,” Pignone said, “I think, ‘They don’t understand how to use this word and how they’re affecting others.’”

Whether it’s verbal or online, Derik has witnessed many different uses of LGBTQ+ phrases.

“The guy’s locker room is a nightmare. Literally like every fifth word is ‘gay,’” Pignone said.

Pignone said hearing the word he identifies with used as an insult affects him tremendously.  

Levi DuVale

Junior Levi DuVale, who is a GSA member and identifies as transgender, has also experienced bullying targeted at him.

DuVale moved to Londonderry as a sophomore last year in June.  Not really knowing anyone, he came to the school under his given name Tiffany.

A student on Levi’s bus once said, “Wow, the queers are out in force today.”

These comments usually bother Levi, and he doesn’t typically respond but this time was different.

“Yes, I’m queer,” DuVale said. “Thank you for noticing the obvious.”

DuVale said comments like that “irritate” him.

“A lot of people use it as a derogatory term,” DuVale said. “They don’t know what they’re saying actually means and don’t realize that what they’re saying hurts us.”

Max Kingsland 

(Name has been changed for privacy reasons)

Earlier in the year, two people riding on Kingsland’s bus made fun of the LGBTQ+ community.

One student said, “Genocide should be put upon transgender people,” arguing against transgender rights with the member.

The second person called transgender people “trannies,” saying, “The trannies should be rounded up and killed.”

No one was there to help the member, so he tried to fend for himself and the community, but they wouldn’t listen.

“People are gay; they don’t choose to be gay,” Kingsland said.“It’s how they’re born.”

However, Kingsland said the two bullies claimed they did not understand the “biological” defects that people in the LGBTQ+ community have suffered from.

One even claimed they were all for gay marriage, but just didn’t understand why they “chose” to be this way.