Hingham High's Gay-Straight Alliance is a club dedicated to creating a safe environment in our school for students of all gender identities and sexual orientation. The group is committed to helping to educate and support the student body to prevent discrimination, harassment, and violence against LGBTQA+ members of our school.
Youth are coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning... at younger and younger ages, in middle schools and high schools across the country. Far too many face peers shunning them, harassing them, or even being violent towards them based on their sexual or gender identity (or perceived identity).
In early May 2017, the Human Rights Campaign launched a survey that aimed to answer pressing questions about growing up as an LGBT youth in the United States today. This followed a similar survey done earlier the same year, as well as their 2012 Growing Up LGBT in America report (www.hrc.org/youth-report/about-the-survey). Tens of thousands of LGBT-identified youth ages thirteen to seventeen participated in the surveys, and the results showed some harsh truths. The research found that forty-two percent of LGBT youth say the community in which they live is not accepting of LGBT people. Youth of the LGBT community are reported to be twice as likely as their peers to experience physical assault (including kicking and shoving), verbal harassment (including anti-gay slurs such as "gay" and "fag"), and being excluded by peers at school. Seventy-four percent of LGBT youth named school as the place where they most often hear negative messages about being LBGT. According to the survey, "Only 21% of LGBT youth say there is a place in their community that helps LGBT people". Thirty seven percent of LGBT participants say they are happy, compared to sixty-seven percent of non-LGBT youth, and "...LGBT youth believe to a greater extent than their [non-LGBT] peers that they must leave their communities to make their hopes and dreams for the future come true".
While not all the results of the surveys were bad, the ones mentioned above were particularly distressing and showcased an overall theme of LGBT students feeling bullied and unprotected in their schools. The GSA aims to bring together members of the LGBTQA+ community and their allies to create and maintain a safe and supportive environment for Hingham High students of the LGBT+ community.
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