LGBTQ+ Safety: The Importance of an Accepting Atmosphere


The LGBTQ+ community is a growing community at Edmond North. Representation of all genders and sexualities is crucial for fostering a safe environment.

The LGBTQ+ community at Edmond North is a growing number of students that, through their acceptance of themselves, created an environment to fulfill the needs of other students with no warm welcome or arms to go into.  This community, more specifically, is represented by the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Club which is continuously and righteously fostering a population that wishes to have a safe space in the school, whether fully comfortable with their gender and sexuality or not. Every member in this club shared distinct stories of embracing who they are, but they all united together to face societal standards that are impossible to mold into.  Edmond North has bred an inclusive atmosphere for the few, yet, that does not mitigate the overall toxicity these students have to overcome–the barriers are still in place even in an accepting light. The question is: how can schools build safety measures around these students?

Samael Hoppe, the GSA vice president at Edmond North, shared his own experience of being openly transgender at school. 

“I find that, as a transgender person, some of the more difficult situations I find myself in are being dead named (being called my legal name instead of the one I have chosen and currently go by). In those regards, I think it would be helpful to implement a system for a student to have their preferred name on their school I.D., the attendance roster, and possibly their email. These changes are somewhat radical and would take a lot more work than just one school, but I think it would do a great deal for those in that part of the community to feel more comfortable on school grounds.” Hoppe said. 

Currently, at Edmond North High School, the administration is moving toward the implementation of name changes in student IDs and the district used Infinite Campus, a website that displays students’ profiles and grades.  Some teachers throughout the district are also applying considerate protocols for LGBTQ+ students by having peers fill out forms that ask for their desired pronoun and name. 

School should always be a safe option for students of all backgrounds.  In the homes of some LGBTQ+ students, parents who vowed to love their child unconditionally in a cruel world seem to find a condition that drains that unconditional support.  With that condition, homes can become precarious for these students. Yet, it is ironic that people loving who they desire has become a parental condition. Is the world ever going to move forward?  

“Otherwise, I honestly can only think of some of the drastic things parents are saying at the moment. They declare The 57 Bus should be banned just for mentioning homosexuality. They say that any book containing information on diversity, people of color, LGBTQ+ topics, etc. should be removed from school library shelves. In this way, I hope that schools don’t pay heed to the growing, hateful cry to take away that type of media. Personally, those books are one of the few ways that we can find representation in school media, so I hope that liberty doesn’t get taken away,” Hoppe noted.

According to a national statistic, between 1.6 to 2.8 million LGBTQ+ youth are homeless. The push for schools to replace that lost environment at home is becoming essential nationwide. However, higher risks of suicide, poorer academic performances, and bullying are all symptoms of being LGBTQ+ at school. Now, how does this change?  How do administrations become aware of and act on these egregious statistics?  School support, such as counselors and trusted teachers, may reduce the repudiation students feel, but schools should move forward in including LGBTQ+ topics, such as books and other forms of media.  Most importantly, though, schools should implement support groups that allow LGBTQ+ students to voice their concerns and discuss how to move forward in the classroom. 

Recently, Florida Governor Ron Desantis passed a bill that objectively seeks to ban discussions on gender, identity, and sexual orientation in schools.  This bill, known as the “Parental Rights in Education,” or more widely known as the  “Don’t Say Gay” bill, is edging towards the pursuit of suppressing and censoring LGBTQ+ youth and teachers in the classroom.  Parents in support of this current bill are stating that they are protecting their children from uncomfortable dialogues; however, the group that is opposing this bill is saying that it may potentially harm LGBTQ+ students.  

To progress and incorporate the lives of all students in schools, there needs to be a fundamental change in education and what is deemed to be inappropriate or unjust. Being LGBTQ+ is not a crime, nor should it be an uncomfortable topic of discussion in schools.