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In Their Own Words: LGBTQ Young People Head Back to School

BY: Ryan Bernsten

We asked our Trevor community some of the big questions as they head back to school this year. Their answers brought us back to the fact that all kids just want to be kids and belong at school, and some of their advice was super heartwarming. See how LGBTQ young people across the country are feeling as they pack their backpacks this year.

What are you most looking forward to at school this year?

“Going to a school with an LGBTQ support group for the first time!”

“This year I’m finally ready to be out and proud! Going to finish my senior year with a bang.”

“I’m in Yearbook for a second year!! And acting!”

“Finding people who accept me for who I am!!”

“Being president of the GSA at my school!”

“Meeting new people and making friends (I’m a freshman).”

“Making new friends because I’m transferring to a new school!”

“Participating in theater productions!”

“Being able to talk to some friendly classmates who are trans like me.”

“Marching band!! Our color guard is almost entirely LGBTQ.”

“The atmosphere of a liberal arts university after being in a conservative school system.”

“Doing art with my friends!”

“Being able to come out to my teachers and have my pronouns and name used.”

Share a moment you felt affirmed at school.

“So this year, I have an openly queer teacher (she/they) I have never felt more relieved.”

“When one of my teachers asked me my pronouns without any prompting.”

“When my high school brought back my GSA.”

“This happened today! My theatre teacher gave us all mini pride flags and stickers.”

“When my tablemate in physics corrected herself on my pronouns.”

What advice would you give your younger self?

“Nothing bad in life defines who you are. You are amazing. You are loved. You are enough.”

“You are so worthy of love, and yes you are weird, but it’s a GREAT thing.”

“You can grow up to be exactly who you wanted to be.”

“Keep finding joy.”

“Don’t give up!! You will meet people who appreciate you and things will work out for the best.”

“It’s normal and okay to be different. Don’t hide it.”

What can teachers or other adults at school do to better support you?

“Ask for pronouns, practice them, and try their best to be the best teacher they can be.”

“Be there to support and talk to when things get tough.”

“Inclusive language and using my pronouns/correcting others for using the wrong pronouns.”

“Have some kind of LGBTQ symbol in the classroom to non verbally communicate support.”

“Ask for pronouns, use preferred names, and educate themselves a bit on LGBTQ topics.”

“Acknowledge LGBTQ+ topics!”

“Using gender-neutral pronouns for students because not everyone passes and trans kids exist!”

“Openly show LGBTQ support so that those in the closet can know who to trust!” 

“A lot of my teachers put their pronouns in emails which inspired me to do the same.”

How can your school become a more welcoming & affirming place?

“I wish my school had a gender-neutral bathroom and dressing room for students.”

“Include trans/non-binary kids in nominations (like prom court or superlatives) for high school.”

“Letting their queer students know they are supported.”

“Supportive teachers could hang rainbow flags in their rooms so students know they’re safe there.”

“Open conversations, prompted by teachers and administration.”

“Making it the norm for teachers to share their pronouns.”

“Embracing and promoting diversity and inclusive language!”

“Putting preferred names with a student’s profile in their system so teachers see it.”

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