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LGBTQ+ students seek understanding, not harassment

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LGBTQ+ students seek understanding, not harassment

Amy Overhulser, Features Editor

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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.


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3 Responses to “LGBTQ+ students seek understanding, not harassment”

  1. Anonymous LHS on February 15th, 2018 12:21 pm

    Well let’s see. Some of us have religious beliefs that require us to see homosexuality as a sin. Some of us believe in traditional marriage and the reliable system that has stayed consistent for thousands of years. Some of us are uncomfortable with the idea of transgenders.
    What about our comfort?
    What about our feelings?
    Believe me we’re the majority, and we’re not going away. You better believe that Trump is going to take our side on this. Since when does our comfort zone not matter? I personally can say I do not support hate speech or comments such as the ones cited in the article because we shouldn’t be like that to our fellow humans. But please, you can’t shove your progressive gender down our throats. Tolerate US. It’s not the other way around.

  2. Clare on February 16th, 2018 11:22 am

    I am part of the LGBTQ+ community and I firmly believe that people can believe what they want – as long as they don’t shove it in my face. This article displays quite well the discrimination that happens to LGBTQ+ people. We are all just people and we all believe in things and stand by it strongly, but that doesn’t mean you have to shove it in our face. Articles like this are just LGBTQ+ pointing out that saying things – like how genocide is a solution to our “biological defects” – are not okay and this is us standing up for ourselves. Yes, some people in our community make it a very big deal and can go on about it, but in that case, it is only the one person you have a problem with, not the whole community.
    You think LGBTQ+ members are sinners? Fine – but don’t tell us that we should all be rounded up and disposed of.
    You can believe what you believe without the hateful words that tend to be used to make us feel like there is something wrong with us.
    You have your opinion and I have mine.

  3. Henley Taylor (Not Anonymous Because I Stand Proudly With My Opinion) on February 21st, 2018 9:29 pm

    This is mainly directed toward “Anonymous” who commented above. I hear ya man. I see what you’ve written and I am trying my very best to understand where you’re coming from. After listening to what you said, I think it’s clear you need reminding of the difference between beliefs and actions. Beliefs live in your noggin, actions affect the rest of the world. Your own personal beliefs can be as sane or as ludicrous as you want them to be, after all this is America baby! When these beliefs result in your actions turning hostile and heinous to those around you is when problems arise. Believing homosexuality is a sin due to your faith is a sad reality, and I understand. Unfortunately, many people are raised this way. Littering your daily speech with hateful epithets and ignorant mockery, however, isn’t mentioned anywhere in that grand old book of yours – whichever one it may be. Treating others with kindness and respect, I’m sure is. Your comfort and feelings do matter just as much as everyone else’s, and it’s really not all that much. We have to risk offending others in order to think, that’s an essential fact of life that our Founding Fathers understood when they wrote up that sweet, sweet 1st Amendment. The thing is, people throwing around gay slurs aren’t doing much thinking at all. To claim that their hateful speech is furthering a societal discourse is preposterous. Did you read the above article? This stuff is gross and dehumanizing, if it were me I wouldn’t want this type of rhetoric associated with my cause or stance even if I did disagree with these individuals. Just think that through, man. So yes, your thoughts and feelings do count, I really do mean it, but just consider the difference between challenging someone’s religious faith or political stance compared to the fundamental facts of their existence – their sexuality or gender. To that point, if you were to say your faith or politics are your existence, then I would say that’s a shallow life you’re living. Finally, of course Trump would back you up, because from your speech it would seem you two share a lot in common: prioritizing yourself over others, not thinking things through, having a tenuous grasp on the difference between belief and action (“thoughts and prayers”), using religion to justify the unfair treatment of others, and of course knowing deep down that the best you can hope for is people tolerating you. Please take a look at your own actions, separate them from your beliefs, and learn where your faith ends and assholery begins. Once that’s all taken care of, I’d love to have a conversation.

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LGBTQ+ students seek understanding, not harassment