Transgender Focus: Struggles of LGBT Students at NHS

Oli Balke, Student of Journalism

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Transgender Day of Remembrance Day has passed (Nov. 20), and transgender students feel trapped in the same circumstances every year. 

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on Nov. 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

“We work really hard with our resources to support students’ needs,” guidance counselor Natalie Shea said.  

LGBT students in Wisconsin reported higher rates of depression and suicidal thoughts than their peers in DPI’s Yourth Risk Behavior Survey. The 2017 YRBS confirms 67 percent of LGBT students in Wisconsin are at the highest risk for anxiety and have a 48 percent sense of belonging at schools. Over 80 percent of LGBT students reported that their mental health was poor.

What exactly influences these statistics? LGBT students, girls and students with disabilities are at a higher risk of getting bullied, but there is a safe space at Neenah.

“GSA is a club here at NHS that works to create a positive change and create a safer environment for LGBTQ+ identifying individuals and their allies,” Shea said.

GSA raises awareness for students and staff alike about LGBT topics and needs, and encourages others to join and find support socially. 

Shea said that GSA continues to work with administration as any needs come to attention to find solutions that work best for all.

One question might come about, however; what exactly do LGBT students need?

One of the resources NHS is lacking are gender neutral bathrooms.

“If I go to the boys’ bathroom, I get weird looks,” says an anonymous transman student. “If I go to the girls’ room, I confuse people . . . The bathroom I go to is in the health office, where every teacher and (her) dog goes to.”

He says he does not have time to go to the bathroom in between classes because of the line.

Unfortunately, 53 percent of transgender students are denied the bathroom they are comfortable with according to the National Center for Transexual Equality. 

Safe spaces and support from peers and administration will, without a doubt, improve the statistics listed above. 

 

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