Describe yourself using only one word.
What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?
April 30, 2016
The GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance) held a “Q & Gay” session during X-block on the Day of Dialogue in the MLK room. A panel of high school students answered questions from the audience about personal experiences and preferences.
The panel answered many questions such as what should be done about middle school homophobia. Many believed it could be diminished by increasing the quality of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) topics in middle school health classes.
The Driscoll school’s GTSA (Gay, Transgender and Straight Alliance) club came to the high school to see the Day of Dialogue. Started by 7th grader Dín Klein, the club is the first middle school GTSA club in Brookline.
Freshman Cait Donahue said that the high school’s bullying survey that is distributed to students in the beginning of the year ignores the struggles the queer community goes through. She said that it was obvious that the questions were more about stereotypical bullying situations than about the hard subjects such as bullying based on sexuality or gender.
One student asked a question about why there are not many racial minorities represented during the Day of Dialogue or in GSA. Junior Grey Fahrner said they are aware that a lot of people are uncomfortable, for either not wanting to be found out or not wanting to be associated with the LGBTQ community, and that that may be a reason why.
Senior Michelle Rios, who is Latina, said she believes that in many minority cultures, “being queer is a white person thing, not spoken about at home.”
Freshman Basya Klein answered a question about what to do when cisgender people feel uncomfortable being asked their pronouns.
“It’s a choice between making straight people feel uncomfortable and an entire group of people feel wrong and invalidated,” Klein said.
Fahrner said that when a student or teacher makes a mistake with their pronouns, they prefer when the person corrects themselves, moves on and does not make a big deal about it. They believe that it is important for people to continue correcting themselves when they use the wrong pronouns.
The panel agreed that a mix between saying pronouns out loud and writing them for the teacher is the best way for people to feel safe using their prefered pronouns. Some students said that they would feel uncomfortable saying their preferred pronouns out loud on their first day if they felt they wouldn’t be supported in a classroom.
Some panelists recounted how their families reacted when they came out. Freshman Nica Rossey said it was especially hard for her brother to come out as trans; their mother still uses his assigned birth name and pronouns around relatives.
The last questions, asked by a middle schooler, was about the panelists’ experience of fluidity and how they change what they label themselves as.
Donahue said that people have to accept that going through the process of coming out is hard, and that their gender identity might change. Freshman Kaelan Woodward believes good people will respect that others are still figuring things out.