Today, LHS students had the opportunity of partaking in the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s initiative to combat anti-gay and anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment.
Students can partake in taking a day-long vow of silence in an effort to encourage students and school administration to address LGBTQ bullying by illustrating a silencing effect that anti-LGBTQ bullying has on those who either identify as LGBTQ or are perceived as LGBTQ.
Through Littleton’s own Gay-Straight Alliance program, students can not only vow a day of silence, but they can also donate one dollar or more to the stand in the main entrance of the school.
Students put posters all around the school in an effort to raise awareness towards this cause. Their goal is to not only educate people on the statistics and challenges that LGBTQ students face, but to also help people understand how to ensure bullying ends.
According to GLSEN, the organization responsible for this initiative, verbal harassment of LGBTQ students based on sexual orientation and gender expression is on the decline. And that’s a big deal: anti-LGBTQ harassment and discrimination negatively affects educational outcomes and mental health when it comes to self-esteem, education aspirations and GPA.
For Dylan Busier-Conley, what is most relevant to him as of now is not necessarily people being bullied, but people not being noticed or recognized.
“They feel as if they are invisible because they don’t feel like they can show their true selves to other people. It’s true, some people aren’t very supportive of LGBTQ+, but a lot of people are,” said Conley.
To combat this, Conley says, is to not only have others show acceptance towards those who are LGBTQ+, but for people of the LGBTQ+ community to recognize they are accepted.
“If they are mere willing to open up to others, they won’t feel forgotten or invisible,” said Conley.