After the failed attempt in 3rd year highschool to set this group up, we wanted to try again in 6th year when we now have more say.
At a group meeting of a voluntary group i'm in we had a speaker from an LGBT group and she prompted discussion from other people there where they talked about their schools support systems for LGBT kids. Now this, for me and my friend, who are the only ones in the group from our school were totally shocked. Other schools acknowledge and have specific support for LGBT kids and we don't. It was depressing. We both left feeling pretty down and very angry.
Our school is a catholic school and the schools that had the support systems were not. That's the key difference. I remember the speaker mentioning something about catholic schools that they are somehow allowed to ignore lgbt matters? even though this violates a protected characteristic? but I'm struggling to find info on that.
At this point I knew I had to do something about it. I know
that there are several lgbt+ kids within my school, I know a huge amount of them too and though we are in our final year, people starting highschool need that support. The age you start highschool is probably when a good amount of kids start to think about dating etc, and our school is terrible enough with the fact our sex education only teaches us about how a zygote is formed, not about safe sex and consent or relationships. We've only ever been told the bad things other times. Sexually transmitted infections and how abstinence is better. But that's another issue.
So today we had our assembly for signups for prom committee and other things, and I thought this would be the perfect time to mention the GSA to our head of year. So i'm bricking it. Whole way throughout them talking about the other clubs I am shitting
myself because I hate having to talk to teachers and also I don't want this thrown back in my face. So it gets to the end and a couple friends stay back with me which I am so grateful for.
I approached the teacher who enthusiastically responded to my first sentence. 'can I talk to you about forming a club?' and then I launched into talking about the GSA and our lack of support and so on. It seemed to be accepted as a concept, but it was certainly danced around. I'll bulletpoint the general summary of what I got back.
- It's not inclusive to just have a specifically LGBT group as opposed to an overall support group for all.
This was the biggest takeaway from the discussion. It is so????? I want an LGBT group and now I'm not being inclusive?? wHAT??? If people, e.g, disabled like she cited want a support group they need to raise that concern also. I can't speak on behalf of their school experiences and they need to come forward and raise those issues with teachers or other students too.
- In response to saying I hear homophobic language in school -> that counts as bullying which is done through another group.
Yes, it does. However I'ts not my only point for wanting a group, I don't want a group because of bullying only. I want a group to educate allies, educate lgbt+, let them have a safe space to be open and meet other people, etc. It is most definitely not just a bullying issue I want to tackle.
- We can't allow these issues to go to students, they need to go to guidance teachers if they have problems.
I 100% understand that. I don't want to get into legal bother here. The thing is, kids don't feel comfortable going to guidance teachers. Whether it's because the school doesn't explicitly say that they will support children on these specific issues or otherwise, but I know from my perspective that if I had issues of any kind in school and I couldn't talk about it at home I wouldn't go to a teacher because I'd be too uncomfortable. The group I want isn't a 'come in and tell us intimate details and we will give you unqualified advice' I just want to educate and welcome people and if their are issues I hear about, I can then go to the teacher about it and set up a meeting because THAT'S the barrier thats scary to get past.
- We have a rights respecting schools committee, it comes under that, join that and bring it up there
Yes we do and, yes it is part of that! But that committee has existed a while and hasn't made any changes within the school. Maybe the group has impact on the higher ups such as the school board which is good, however, it doesn't impact students and the student community. If I join this group, and I probably will because I need in their good books, I feel like it'll be the usual 'lets discuss this within the group ooooooh look how enlightened we are, yes yes we are aware' and It won't extent outside of the committee.
there was more but I'm not really sure how to word that right now. So this went on, with them being supportive but just not getting it and dancing around the issue. My friend mentioned her experience of not finding support in school and we got a lil' emotional then and cried a bit which isn't fun to do infront of teachers. but it was so frustrating and also my friend said I was a support when she came out and that made me EmOTIONAL, at that point we kind of had to break up the convo or we'd be bawling.
If anyone has experience of this commenting would be appreciated, otherwise advice is still v welcome. I thought I'd post about this bc its important to me and Ik theres a lot of lgbt+ people on here too so it's quite relevant.
note: apologies for writing lgbt throughout this, I forgot to add the plus on a few so pls know that I am fully including other groups in the lgbt+ community I just needed to get this out bc its been swimming in my mind all day so I did miss out a few '+'s that I intended to put in.