The Eagle's Call

VMSS needs an LGBTQ+ support club

Artwork by Kieran Kowalski

Artwork by Kieran Kowalski

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How many people reading this feel unhappy with who they are? How many want to change something about themselves, whether it’s your personality or appearance? Statistically, there are a lot of you. Many middle school students are unhappy with who they are and who they’ve become.

Based on information from an article on Growing Up LGBT in America, 26% of LGBTQ+ youth don’t feel accepted and are often bullied. Luckily, 99% are out to friends and family and 64% are out to their classmates. Those stats are pretty relieving, but the next facts are bound to surprise you. I know they surprised me. 92% of America’s LGBTQ+ youth hear negative messages being spread. 68% receive remarks and messages with negative connotations from their elected leaders.

In Minnesota, equal parts of male and female people (adults and children) are part of the LGBTQ+ community. We have a 3.4% population of LGBTQ+ adults and 20% of that group have children. There’s nothing wrong with these statistics, right?, maybe not. 71.4% of children with LGBTQ+ parents are made fun of for their own parents!

Now, this article won’t just be about kids in the LGBTQ+ community, thanks to statistics I found on another article. 40% of boys in middle school feel insecure about their bodies and muscles. 38% of middle school boys will use protein supplements to feel better about themselves. 47% of young girls are held back from showing their true selves because of their self-esteem. 70% of middle school girls will talk down on themselves, their looks, their personality, even with who their friends and family are. 20% of the children in America will experience depression before reaching adulthood.

For all the facts I just mentioned, I believe there could be a rather simple solution. I believe our school could have a supportive club after school for anyone that might need it. Kids that don’t feel comfortable with themselves could see they’re not alone. Kids in the LGBTQ+ community could feel safe among each other. Kids would be given the opportunity to vent if they need it. I think it would make an amazing addition to our after school clubs, especially since it could really help out numerous kids at our school.

Sources: https://www.hrc.org/youth-report/view-and-share-statistics \\ https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/visualization/lgbt-stats/?topic=LGBT&area=27#density \\ https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-teens-and-self-esteem

9 Comments

9 Responses to “VMSS needs an LGBTQ+ support club”

  1. Kristi Carson on January 5th, 2018 5:34 pm

    Brilliant. Who doesn’t want to feel safe, accepted, appreciated and especially heard ?
    Kieran, a club that provides youth with a safe place to fully develop their understanding of all of these needs, in their own time, and with the support of their peers who are in the same boat (but have their own, very personal, individual room on that same boat) is a great idea. The fact that you recognize the need for a club like this is the beginning of great leadership skills which will get you far.
    Well done!

    [Reply]

  2. Pamela Romig on January 5th, 2018 9:01 pm

    A well written and researched article. Kiernan is right in that our young people need safe arenas to express themselves and support and build each other m

    [Reply]

  3. Aimee Tanner on January 9th, 2018 1:41 pm

    I agree! Kudos to you for bravely writing this section that everyone should read. Thank you for being a strong voice and advocate in our school!

    [Reply]

  4. Philip Balmer on January 17th, 2018 8:15 pm

    I’d love that I’m not any of those things but I know plenty who are and plenty who also feel insecure.

    [Reply]

  5. umm I’m not giving you my name I’m just here to comment on February 11th, 2018 1:26 am

    Kieran, I must say, this was a wonderfully written and well researched article. However, this all goes into vain after how my easier solution will be presented.
    I respect the LGTBQ+ community, and I have no problem with them. I see you in school, Kieran, and I know you have friends. Never once have I seen anyone (LGBTQ+ or not) getting bullied inside this school. As you can see in the “trying too hard to be faithful liberals who are accepting of everyone”, “people who are scared to disagree, so they just agree and repeat what everybody else said”, and the “40 year old staff members who are getting on their knees to praise a seventh grader” comments, it’s not like nobody is accepting of the ️‍ community. And… your parents. Why would they not be supportive if they FUND your transition? So… NO, it’s not like you need to have a safe space and be cuddled because you’re not accepted.
    You also mention the fact that people can rant about their issues… how would an LGBTQ+ support group help? Imagine you’re not a part of that community — wouldn’t you just go to the counselors?

    If you want to be equal, stop making LGTBQ+ members feel even more out of place with their own, special club! Just go to the counselors or your parents if you need help.

    Thank you.

    [Reply]

    hello Reply:

    Oof

    [Reply]

  6. hello on February 20th, 2018 6:03 pm

    Oh snap

    [Reply]

  7. Friendly Advocate on April 12th, 2018 3:50 pm

    Hi there!

    First off I want to say that your article is well written and very well researched. I read it and smiled wide, because it takes so much courage to be an advocate. Please keep talking about it. If one isn’t formed, continue to bring it up. Regardless of what the prior comment said, I can assure you that there are people out there that feel the same way you do. Don’t let anyone dull your fire or steal your voice. It needs to be heard.

    I did a little research, just to see if groups like this exist in the school district and they do. AVHS has a GSA or Gender and Sexuality Alliance group, once known as the Gay Straight Alliance. Below is an article about them that was written in the Talon, the school’s newspaper.
    http://avhstalon.org/1947/arts-entertainment/gsa-gender-and-sexuality-alliance/

    To refute the comment above stating “Why would you need a group?” I challenge that all across the US these groups exist because they are needed. If they weren’t, they simply would not exist. While many people “don’t see a need” they are typically not the ones who feel alone and unaccepted. It’s easy to dismiss an idea or a thought by saying “I don’t feel that way so no one else should” or “I wouldn’t do that” but in reality those voices don’t really know how others feel. They also can’t tell someone else how to feel or what to be offended by. You are allowed to feel hurt. You are allowed to express the need for community. No one else can tell you who you are.

    In writing this I also wanted to give you a few resources if you or anyone else wants to start an LGTBQ+ group and community within VMS.

    The first is a Minnesota based group that works with both LGTBQ+ adults and teens. This group is one that I volunteer for and have done fundraising for as well. They work with students as advocates and are a great resource for information. Below is a link to their website.
    https://www.outfront.org/

    Another group on a national level is the GSA. The group at AVHS is supported and registered with this national charter. There is a spot on their website with information on how to start, register, and run a GSA.
    https://gsanetwork.org/

    I hope you will continue speaking up and working with other students to form a group that will benefit so many students now and in the future.

    [Reply]

  8. Tobias on May 31st, 2018 5:24 am

    It won’t affect you at all.bullying isn’t always obvious,it could be at home, by parents, or at school in less popular places. I’ve been called a f***** and told I should go to hell before,nobody knew until i told them.

    [Reply]

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