Life Over the Rainbow at Monument
Several Monument students discuss their personal experiences of being LGBTQ people in the community.
April 13, 2017
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“Not being able to point to the people in my hallways who are allies or LGBTQ folk is an isolating feeling.”
“I do feel like I’m being treated differently because I talked to a staff member here at MMRHS about a conflict that had to do with my sexuality, and that staff [member] was conveying that I wasn’t allowed to like a girl, because she had a boyfriend.”
“I feel very grateful for the school community because I’ve found it to be quite accepting, but that being said, I also haven’t felt comfortable enough to come out.”
“I was nervous about people outside of my friends finding out and judging me or thinking differently of me for it.”
LGBTQ is an acronym that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer. It is also a community that populates every single country, state, county, town, and building that you will ever enter.
At Monument Mountain, the general consensus among specifically girls on the LGBT spectrum has been that while this school is not blatantly homophobic, there is still a long way to go with educating the students.
This week, I interviewed 6 LGBT girls at Monument, and they all had one similar request– that Monument improve their GSA(1) and education about the LGBTQ community. While all of them said that Monument could be worse, many still did not feel comfortable enough to come out because of the stigma around being queer. An anonymous student, who identifies as pansexual, said that even though she doesn’t feel comfortable coming out at Monument, LGBT friends she has at other schools tend to have it so much worse. Taylor Slonaker, a sophomore at MMRHS who identifies as bisexual said, “Monument is doing well but I think they could improve by talking about LGBT+ more and having discussions with students about it and what it means.” Another student stated that, “[Monument’s] GSA certainly claims to be a safe space for LGBTQ persons, but meetings barely happen because no one ever comes.” The GSA continued to be mentioned when another anonymous student, who identifies as gay, said “In particular, I think the GSA should meet more frequently and advertise more publicly. Obviously some layer of privacy is important because some students may want to attend without ‘outing’(2) themselves, but it’s important that LGBT kids know there’s an outlet for them to safely express themselves, and right now I don’t thinks it’s clear that such an outlet exists.” One student even admitted, “LGBT students tend to be more depressed or alone. I just think we need a connected outlet to make us feel more happy, safe, and confident.”
Something I have personally observed around Monument is the lack of openly gay, bi, or pan, boys. Not only are boys the ones who are less open about their sexuality, but they have also tended to be more judgemental of others sexualities. One student recounted a moment she experienced while walking in the hallway:
“I had just ‘come out’ per say (to my friends and family only not a huge thing) so I was like on top of the world feeling awesome and I was in the B-wing one day and I just hear this kid talking to his friend behind me and very loudly he says, ‘What a f**king dyke,’ and his friend goes ‘B**ch is a filthy dyke.’ So in my head I’m like you’ve gotta say something. So I turn around and I stop in the middle of the hall and say, ‘Anything wrong with being a dyke?’ And they were silent. So I was like, ‘No really, do you guys have problems with dykes or something?’ And they just stood there. And I said, ‘Cause like, dykes are all over the place. I’d watch your mouth.’”
Another student explained that “In the rare instances that I have been exposed as not straight to anyone other than my close friends, I have been treated like a sex object. Some of my friends are aware I have hooked up with girls in the past, and a lot of people, especially straight guys, treat me like I’m some kind of sex freak. The amount of times I’ve been asked if I’d be down for a threesome or if they could watch me make out with another girl is uncanny.” This shows that a lack of education about LGBT people often leads to a fetishization of sexualities rather than an understanding. This also stems into LGBT students’ insecurities about their sexualities, due to lack of comprehension from other students. When asked if her time at Monument being LGBT was negative or positive, Rachel Bozza said, “The only time when I have felt insecure or unsafe in a sense is when people don’t necessarily believe that I like girls as well, simply because I have never been super vocal about it, and haven’t made it public in any way until last year.” Slonaker also stated a similar feeling. “The only thing that has been negative is when friends have asked, ‘how do you know you’re bi and it’s not just a phase? How can you know at this age?’” she explained.
Overall, most of these girls had decided that their experiences being LGBT at Monument had been mostly positive, but many of them are also only out to a small circle of close friends. The larger community at Monument seems to be where the concern comes in. One student concludes, “I feel lucky to go to Monument.[…] I’m glad I go here because I know that when I feel comfortable enough to let people know I’m gay, that people will have my back. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have any homophobia in the school, and I think it’s important to note that the homophobia doesn’t stem from the administration at all. It stems from kids being careless with their choice of words, and careless with their treatment of their friends.” Although MMRHS is a generally accepting school, there are still many more steps the school could take to ensure the comfort of LGBTQ students.
- GSA stands for Gay Straight Alliance, also known as Gender Sexuality Alliance
- “Outing” someone is exposing their sexuality to someone or a group of people without their consent