LGBT Youth at CKHS

Youth at CKHS who identify as LGBT

LGBT Pride Flag

LGBT Pride Flag

by James Guillory, Reporter

When discussing LGBT topics, people who identify with the community are often “othered”. Treated as a third party, they exist, but it’s assumed they exist elsewhere, not here. But LGBT youth are often closer than you think, you may not care what others think of you, but being respectful can have a large positive impact on your peers.  

Washington is a fairly liberal state, and CKHS is quite an open-minded school. Even though students can often be a mixed bag, most teachers and administrators are aware and respectful. But there are still ways schools can fall short, in Health and Sex ed. varying identities are rarely if ever discussed. LGBT Topics are at times challenging to discuss but leaving it open-ended leaves room for assumptions, rumors, and fallacies. Which can lead to bullying and harassment out of ignorance.

Youth Report Statistics by The Human Rights Campaign

According to some local LGBT youth, there are many ways CKHS could be more inclusive. An anonymous source explained that they just want to be treated as any other normal guy, while others believe LGBT history should be taught in social studies, or simply included in the course content.

Another spot with trouble is name and identity transition for transgender youth. At Olympic College and Central Kitsap Middle School, there are forms for students to fill out with their identity, name and their situation at home. CKHS doesn’t have one of these, yet, but is making progress to support its students. 

Trans and nonbinary youth usually have the most trouble with school. Transitioning is the best treatment for gender dysphoria, “I’m happier now,” Sutton says. Although there is a debate on when youth should be stating what they are and who they want to be. But something as harmless as a different name or pronoun should be respected, even if it’s small, it can mean the world for someone who is just starting their transition. It is okay to make mistakes, as long as you acknowledge them. 

For most transitioning is a great experience. “Some of my friendships were…stronger…because I wasn’t living this lie,” says senior Max Sutton. But there is always danger in presenting a different way, it can range from rumors and whispers to actual physical harassment and death threats, either way, it is bad. In all honesty, if you’re confused or curious: Talk to them! Most trans people are open to telling you how they wish to be referred to and seen as. Just don’t use them as your dictionary.

From The Office Season Three Episode One “Gay Witch Hunt”

This isn’t to say people of different sexual orientations don’t also experience discrimination, toxic stereotypes of gay men are surprisingly still relevant, and a lesbian identifying student has spoken on uncomfortable situations with men. “One time a guy found out I was lesbian, he was like ‘Oh I could turn you straight,’” recalled Freshman Alaina Fancher.  She also spoke on other schools she’d been to where teachers would speak against it, making her recoil much farther into the closet. Now she says it’s better, having peers in similar situations and a school that shows much open support to LGBT youth.

Youth Report Statistics by The Human Rights Campaign

In relation to Mental Health, LGBT youth are most at risk, with internal struggles that go hand in hand with harassment. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 73% of students have been bullied for their LGBT identity. It’s possible to hurt someone without even knowing it, “jokes” and memes can create harmful stereotypes and a hostile environment for LGBT identifying peers. 

Another important reason to respect and support LGBT peers is that often we don’t know what their life at home is like, for some, school is the only place they feel safe talking about their experiences, which is why creating a safe environment is important to many. The best way to support LGBT youth is keeping an open mind, and treating them like regular people because they are. It also never hurts to educate yourself, but as all topics be sure to check your sources for credibility, and it’s best to look for actual LGBT identifying folk, for the most reliable experiences.