LGBTQ+ Students and their Responses to Discrimination


Guadalupe Gonzalez (9th), Reporter

Schools are the main places where young people can go to learn, socialize, and provide services. However, they can be very challenging environments for LGBTQ+ youth depending on the general acceptance of the other students at the school.


It is important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different, so just because a specific person claims a particular issue didn’t apply to them does not mean that the issue is nonexistent in the first place.


“I know people who are scared to report anything at all; I think they’re worried about making whatever is going on worse,” a freshman at PHS stated when asked about LGBTQ+ students’ responses to bullying and just general harassment, “so the chances of anybody reporting bullying in general… is low.”


Being gay, lesbian, transgender or just queer in general, is often the target of bullying and harassment in regions with low tolerance. This includes physical assault and/or verbal attacks. Many victims of these types of incidents do not report them to school officials as they believe that they will be ignored. Even in areas with relatively high acceptance of queer individuals, that doesn’t guarantee that they won’t experience any form of discrimination.


Many LGBTQ+ students are still harassed and discriminated against at school. This is because of the existence of discriminatory policies and practices that affect them differently than their straight peers. Some of these include the potential of the dress code infringing on students’ gender identity and overall self expression, uniforms being the main subject in this circumstance. This is just one idea that may apply to a few schools in general, although this idea isn’t applicable to Pitman, the way Pitman, and more specifically other students approach LGBTQ+ students may vary depending on who is the subject of this topic.


When another student, this time a junior at PHS, was asked about their experiences as a queer person at school they replied, “It isn’t too bad. A few names isn’t really anything to make a fuss about.” This statement from the junior enforces the idea that the previous student was commenting on before: that many people hesitate or flat out refuse to report any issues they face for their identity in fear of making things worse or just seeing it as unnecessary.


Even if the issues LGBTQ+ students face change greatly depending on many factors, all discrimination is notable, and no student should be harassed due to something such as their identity. Students should feel safe and comfortable at school, or at least feel comfortable reporting the misconduct that has been directed at them.