LGBTQ+ students want acceptance, recognition at school


  At the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, the LGBTQ students at Stephenville High School had no support system and no one to turn to if they faced bullying and rudeness. After having enough of this, one student decided it was finally time to get the students the support they needed and deserved.

   Senior Carol Langford started the GSA at SHS on the last day of the 2021-2022 school year. Although the club didn’t meet during the summer, it constantly has meetings throughout the year. The meetings are informational as well as enjoyable.  

    “Most of the time [during meetings] we alternate between learning about different parts of LGBTQ history and checking in on our members,” Carol said.

   Carol encourages anyone who is curious about the community to attend any of their meetings regardless of their sexual orientation or however they may identify.

   “It’s a welcoming environment. It’s not just for LGBTQ students. It’s for everyone,” Carol said. “If you want to learn and are interested in figuring out what this is, or if you’re interested in learning about LGBTQ issues, then I would say absolutely just go to a meeting.”

   In addition to meetings, Carol wants to expand on the types of activities that the club does.

   “I want to get into some volunteer things,” Carol said. “[I want to] spread the message [about the alliance] and also volunteering is good and also something that would be good to get into.”

   One of the things that Carol is looking forward to is trying to get the president of the Tarleton State University GSA to come talk to the members of the SHS GSA. 

   “It would be really neat to have someone who has done this before to talk and share some of their experiences,” Carol said.

   Carol has expressed that sometimes in cities that aren’t very diverse, it’s hard to find a group that represents you and the kind of people you associate with.

   “I feel like a lot of times, especially in a small town or rural environment, the LGBTQ kids end up getting kind of cast to the side and ignored, or they don’t feel welcome in communities or other school organizations,” Carol said.

   Even with the GSA, Carol feels that they and the rest of the LGBTQ people are not quite fully seen at school. Not being able to run the alliance at the full extent that they would like to, Carol believes that there is little to no recognition of the LGBTQ community. 

   “I know there are students who share my opinions. So in that regard yes, I feel like there is representation there, but do I feel recognized-no,” Carol said. 

   High school is a hard and tough environment to navigate and knowing that there is a support system that will always be there for you is crucial.

   “Having a group that you know will accept you is really important,” Carol said.

   However not everyone agrees with having a GSA, and Carol has spoken out about the repercussions of that. Carol knows that there will always be people who do not agree, but also just wants everyone to be civil when voicing their opinions. 

   “I hope [they] can respect what we are trying to do and respect us as humans enough to not harass us,” Carol said. “You can complain and you can talk to other people all you want about it, but just don’t threaten us. And don’t make our lives awful because you’re unhappy.”

(Read the article “GSAs have positive impact on school climate, make it safer for all students” before this article. These two articles are part of an in-depth News/Feature package.)

(Names have been changed at the request of some students.)