My name is Drew, and I’m a recent high school graduate who would like to discuss the importance of gender, sexual orientation, and learning disability equality in schools.
My high school experience wasn’t the best for a number of reasons, but the main issue that I had with it was its treatment of those who are different from what has for too long been the norm in society. And by that I mean straight white non disabled cisgender men and women. Basically, I was not comfortable because the teachers and staff didn’t appear to be open minded to those of us who are LGBT+ as well as those who think differently than others. One thing that should be mentioned is that the principal of my high school isn’t exactly the best when it comes to supporting those who are LGBT. For example, one of the health teachers tended to mistreat those who are different from him and he once used harmful language to describe mental health issues amongst certain individuals. As a result of this, I felt incredibly hurt by his remark and sent him an email expressing my frustration by the statement he made. Instead of apologizing for what he said, he just tried to silence my anger and that it was only my opinion that it was a bit harmful towards others. I felt angry when he brushed off my comment and I responded by saying that I needed to raise my voice when I felt that it was necessary. The same teacher is still working at this school as of right now. In a Q and A session, the principal mentioned that he supports students regardless of identity despite not doing anything in terms of helping them out. This shows that the principal doesn’t seem to care about what the other teachers say to their students. It has been almost a year since I finished school, and I was happy to finally be done because I honestly couldn’t take the unsafe environment anymore.
A way I would help out with schools that have LGBT students is to let them have their voices heard and not silenced about their experiences by writing an essay about them. I didn’t have these opportunities at my school, so having these types of events can really help people understand just what they go through. This can make not only schools be aware of the fact that there is a very diverse range of students, but entire communities as well. This can also lead to acceptance of those who are different from others and make progress towards the goal of LGBT acceptance in the long run. This can also be something that can be applicable for other minority groups like African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Those of different genders, and those with disabilities such as autism, and let them speak about their experiences.
Another thing that should be mentioned is how disability rights don’t get as much coverage as other groups like those that support African American rights and LGBT rights in my high school experience. A reason why this may be is due to the fact that some people aren’t all too familiar with learning disabilities such as autism. And the more well known aspects of them are mostly negative as organizations as well as some parents view people who have been diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) as if they are burdens to their parents. Though there are some more positive aspects to this topic such as having different special interests and putting more thoughts into different topics, it definitely needs to be getting more attention as some people are more accepting of autistic individuals and should let their voices be heard.
I am very fortunate to be currently employed at a place that accepts LGBT people as opposed to my high school experience where there was hardly any representation that was shown. Progress is being made every day towards the goal of making the workplace better for people like me and hopefully the same can be applicable for all places such as schools, universities, and all types of workplaces as well. Something that everyone should know is that regardless of your sexual orientation, gender, or disability, you are still a human being at the end of the day and you should be treated like one.
“A human is a human no matter who you are.”
“Disability rights should be considered more often.”