Transgender students find community

School community had become more welcoming

LGBTQ+students+at+Granite+Bay+High+School+are+becoming+more+comfortable+sharing+their+identity+as+transgender+in+theater+among+other+places+on+campus.
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Transgender students find community

LGBTQ students at Granite Bay High School are becoming more comfortable sharing their identity as transgender in theater among other places on campus.

LGBTQ students at Granite Bay High School are becoming more comfortable sharing their identity as transgender in theater among other places on campus.

Gazette/GBT.org iIllustration/ ASHLEY LUCIA

LGBTQ students at Granite Bay High School are becoming more comfortable sharing their identity as transgender in theater among other places on campus.

Gazette/GBT.org iIllustration/ ASHLEY LUCIA

Gazette/GBT.org iIllustration/ ASHLEY LUCIA

LGBTQ students at Granite Bay High School are becoming more comfortable sharing their identity as transgender in theater among other places on campus.

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  Over the years, the LGBTQ community has become much more talked about within the community.

 Many students on our own GBHS campus are a part of this community. The school attempts to ensure that these students are in a safe and  accepting environment.

  In 2014, theater at Granite Bay’s production of “The Laramie Project,” spiked discussion in the community about topics surrounding the LGBTQ community.

  “I think ultimately it was a very positive experience for our community,” theater arts director Kyle Holmes said

  “It encouraged conversations about how we love and accept one another even if we’re different,” Holmes said.

    More recently, the theater program aided in initiating the use of  ‘We Welcome’ posters all over campus.

  These posters symbolize the inclusiveness of the theater program on campus.  They serve as a reminder that school is a welcoming place for all people despite their race, their gender, or their sexual preferences.

  The GBHS LGBTQ club has become a safe space for students and supporters of the LGBTQ community to come together and be around loving and accepting peers.

  While the school environment has become more inviting towards the LGBTQ community, many students still feel out of place in their own bodies.

I think to be a transgender youth in Granite Bay is very difficult. I know a lot of transgender students who feel kids don’t react kindly. ”

— Maryanna Agafonov

  According to a study done by American Academy of Pediatrics, there is an alarmingly high rate of attempted suicide among transgender youth.

  More than 50 percent of transgender males reported having attempted suicide. Almost thirty percent of females and forty-one percent of non-binary youth reported suicide attempts.

   Sophomore Jayden Brown has recently gone through his own transition.

  “Before I felt very trapped,” Brown said. “I couldn’t act as myself.”

  After his transition, Brown said he finally feels like himself and is more comfortable with his appearance.

  Though transitioning was a freeing experience for Brown, he continues to face difficulties being transgender.

  “My parents weren’t very supportive,” Brown said. “They continued to refer to me as my dead name.”

  Brown also continues to struggle with dysmorphia, as he doesn’t feel masculine enough in his own body.

  Thankfully, Brown has found some closure in the staff of Granite Bay.

We are all people, and even if we don’t agree with someone’s ideologies, it’s still imperative we respect the choices the individual has made for themselves,”

— Maryanna Agafonov

  “Teachers here are very accepting and supportive,” Brown said.

  However, while teachers provide Brown with acceptance and support, Brown finds that his peers don’t always do the same.

  “It’s easy to get bullied here for being transgender or gay,” Brown said. “If I say I’m not a girl to a student, I still get made fun of.”

  “Granite Bay, unfortunately, is not really a school of diversity,” senior Maryanna Agafonov said.

  Though Agafonov feels that the school has become more diverse over the years, she feels there is still  pressure for students to fit in due to fear of being judged by their peers.

  “Students at Granite Bay often feel uncomfortable around LGBTQ students,” Agafonov said. “ (And) even more around transgender students.”

  “I think to be a transgender youth in Granite Bay is very difficult,” Agafonov said. “I know a lot of transgender students who feel kids don’t react kindly.”

  “I think a lot of people at our school are scared and confused,” Agafonov said. “They don’t know how to react to people who are different than themselves.”

  Though the judgment is not always face-to-face, Agafonov feels it is still a large struggle transgender students  face.

  “Often kids respond by ignoring, excluding, making snide comments, and whispering about transgender individuals,” Agafonov said.

It’s easy to get bullied here for being transgender or gay. If I say I’m not a girl to a student, I still get made fun of.”

— Jayden Brown

  “We are all people, and even if we don’t agree with someone’s ideologies, it’s still imperative we respect the choices the individual has made for themselves,” Agafonov said.

  Though Granite Bay has taken large strides in creating a safe environment for all students, some feel there are still things we can do to bring awareness to the struggles transgender students face, and make them feel more accepted at school.

  “I can’t go to the bathroom anywhere,” Brown said. “It’d be nice to have a gender-neutral bathroom here and there.”

  “If a student feels more comfortable using the bathroom they identify with, then they should be able to,” Agafonov said. “There should be more conversation about acceptance and respect of individuals of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and beliefs,” Agafonov said.

  Agafonov believes there needs to be more inclusivity on the GBHS campus because no student deserves to come to school and feel unsafe, ostracized, or alone.

  “We are all students who deserve an equal, safe environment to learn and flourish in,” Agafonov said.

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