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Open Forum: Time for petty discrimination to end

It’s estimated that a GLBTQ youth is three to seven times more likely to commit suicide. A large reason for this is the harsh bullying that occurs far too often, especially in schools. The worst of the fact is that most social, political, and educational institutions do little to stop this prejudice. They rely on you to stand up and point out injustice. Speaking from my own personal experience, when I was going through school kids apparently knew I was gay before I even did. I was harassed for a large part of my education by students who would use “fag” and “gay” in derogatory ways, as well as threaten me. I was still one of the lucky ones who was never physically assaulted. Sometimes these awful events would happen in front of teachers, adults, or peers who would do nothing about it. Eventually I took action. 

Coming out of the closet my junior year, I took a leadership position in the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance and began my continuing efforts to promote justice and equality, and to provide a safe space to my fellow members of the GLBTQA community. It’s time we reach an understanding and that this petty discrimination ends. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students deserve the equal rights and respect that everyone else should have. It’s time to make a stand because it won’t simply get better unless we make it better, and there is always power in the individual voice. Stand up, be a part of the solution, there is always work to be done.

Nicholas Swenson