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The True Nature of Acceptance

Chelsea Chaibi, Editor-in-Chief

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High school is an awkward time for most students. Teens find out more about themselves than they have at any other time in their young lives. This identity search also means that anxiety is a common emotion for these self-searching teenagers. Acceptance is what everyone wants to achieve, but students often hide who they really are in order to be accepted. Students in the LGBT community are the most likely to hide themselves from the rest of the school, and perhaps this secrecy is justified. According to an online site entitled, DoSomething.org, “80% of gay and lesbian youth report severe social isolation, and 6 in 10 LGBT students report feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.”

The place where LGBT students feel most safe is in their own community; still, it is no secret that there are both teens and adults who do not support this community, which causes anxiety for those within the group, and prevents some from “coming out” or acknowledging their true sexual identity, especially in high school. According to a parent of a gender non-conforming son, “High school is a difficult environment for every student, but it is especially unwelcoming to those with different sexual orientations.”  Students here at Hubbard High School are not so different from the rest of the nation; sometimes acceptance is non-existent or unwilling. Sophomore Jake (Kayla) Bednar found out that he was bisexual as well as transgender at eight years old. As he goes on through his days, Bednar tends to feel that HHS is not an accepting place for the community. There is no bullying involved, but Bednar feels that he is not as accepted as he would be if he were straight. Bullying is a big factor in any school, and students who are in the community are most likely to be bullied, Bednar believes.

However, some high schools promote acceptance for all LGBT youth. In these groups or under these conditions, students feel accepted and safe. They don’t feel as if they have to go through the struggle alone. Senior Jacquelyn Keslar explains that she felt like she was forcing herself to be something she was not.  She states, “I feel more comfortable now that I have come out, and that I am able to be myself”. Keslar believes that the students at Hubbard are accepting, yet she recognizes that there are some who are not.

Friends are the most common support system for the LGBT youth. Senior Bradley Holden came out freshman year, and he had a lot of “friends” who abandoned him. However, Holden explains that he had true friends who stayed with him to help him through the anxiety of coming out and losing the people he loved. He states, “Without the people who were there for me during this time, I would’ve been so lost. I had my friends and band. I never felt alone when I had them there, and I am so thankful.” Finding someone to talk to, or an organization of supporting people helps students through the sometimes unforgiving atmosphere of high school.

Students must remember that high school is full of teens who are different from one another. According to the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey put out by the CDC, 8% of high school students are in the LGBT youth. These students are twice as  likely to be bullied than are those who identify as straight students. At Hubbard High School, there is no bullying towards the students who identify as LGBT.  The real question is, however,  “Are LGBT students accepted”? And to that question, there is no simple answer. Every student here at HHS is different. Each day all of us here can continue to work towards a more accepting attitude and compassionate awareness, and that is the true nature of acceptance.

 

Sources:

https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/12/07/walking-through-hailstorm/discrimination-against-lgbt-youth-us-schools

https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-lgbt-life-america

https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/questionnaires.htm

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The student news site of Hubbard High School.
The True Nature of Acceptance