Complexities behind LGBTQ+ relationships at OHS

Abigail Ely, Staff Reporter

Relationships come in all shapes and sizes, and OHS is no stranger to the diverse pairings that students find themselves in. With Valentine’s Day and Winter Formal around the corner, people have started their planning on how they’ll ask that special someone to the dance. LGBT+ students find themselves conflicted on whether they feel okay with presenting their LGBT+ relationships.
In a hetero-normative world, people can be oblivious to how relationships’ normalities pose a challenge for LGBT+ relationships. The issue of who pays for dates in same-sex relationships or when it’s the norm for the man to pay for the women, are common examples. How does this play out when there are two women, two men or any other combination of people that don’t fit the typical cis heterosexual relationship?
Even with all the progress made, people in the LGBT+ community have contuined to face discrimination for being in same-sex and other LGBT+ relationships. Dances and Valentine’s day can cause anxiety to LGBT+ students with the worry of being harrassed for expressing themselves with their partner or date.
“I don’t think there has been an instance where I’ve felt uncomfortable talking about it [partner],” Sam Phillips (11) said.
Phillips was asked about whether he feels safe openly presenting his relationship, he happily replied that he “gushes about it all the time” and feels safe to openly discuss his relationship.
Sadly, not everyone feels safe enough to present or discuss their relationships within the walls of OHS. In fact, one interviewed student wished to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation or physical harm for revealing their sexuality
“I don’t think I’d feel entirely comfortable presenting my relationship openly… If being in Prism is enough to make conservative men violent, I shudder to think what would happen if I was open about a same-sex relationship in front of such people,” the student said.
They expressed that they feared being beaten up and have feared for their safety.
However, it was said that the administration’s general queer-positive position has allowed them to feel comfortable talking with staff about their orientation.
Carrie Inglis (Counseling) gives insight into how the atmosphere around LGBT+ couples now differs from how it was back when she was in high school.
“When I was in high school, things were much more conservative and sexuality was not something that was on display 24/7… Most LGBT+ students didn’t feel safe or comfortable sharing their sexual identity, unfortunately. Couples were boys with girls and it wasn’t really talked about if you were not in this “typical” group. Students now seem to be more gender fluid and have so much more exposure to different lifestyles and choices and therefore tend to be more accepting. Today there are many role models, actors, teachers, parents, friends and support for students in the LGBT community,” Inglis said.

While the atmosphere set in place by staff and “Sadies” being changed to “Winter Formal” allows for a safer environment, there will always be policies that can be implemented to ensure the safety of LGBT+ students.
The students of OHS are lucky to have grown up and have been educated by staff that are fairly open-minded and allow for an atmosphere of LGBT+ acceptance. With all the trials and tribulations the LGBT+ community have endured, everyday society becomes more and more accepting even if it is slow and at times painful. The endless fighting from the people who came before have paved the way for us to be able to live in a time where gay marriage is legalized and love is love.