One day, I was sitting in the cafeteria with my friend and she was talking about someone who I thought was a girl but she was referring to this person using "he" and "him" pronouns. I was confused, so I asked her to explain more. I learned that this person was transgender. I wanted to learn more about this community and became very interested. Towards the end of my Sophomore year, I learned that my friend was a part of the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) which is a club for the LGBT community.
I continued asking her about the club and what they do. She explained that the club continues to educate themselves and to spread awareness throughout the school. I was interested, so I decided to go to a meeting to see if I enjoyed it. I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of once I walked into the room. The sponsor was so welcoming!
During that meeting, they were discussing changes to make the LGBT community feel safe at school. The option that we were discussing was having gender-neutral bathrooms. We decided to have a school-wide petition and if that goes well, we would talk to the principal to see if that change could be done. This is very important since this would help many students feel safe and comfortable.
First, we came up with a plan of how we were going to do the petition. We had to make sure there would be enough people at the booth and we also had to prepare in case we got any negative feedback. The actual petition went really well. We had a lot of support from the school. It felt so good knowing that there were a lot of people supporting us for this change to happen. In the end, we got over 1,000 signatures which meant that we got the opportunity to talk to the principal about moving forward. She was willing to do anything to help us reach our goal. She was very accommodating and we were able to have a gender-neutral bathroom ready to use by the beginning of the next school year.
This was something that I didn't even know was possible to do. This experience allowed me to learn more about the issues that the LGBT community have to go through each day. It helped me discover a passion that I didn't know I had. This is still a passion of mine and I'm going to try my best to be an advocate for this community as I am planning to become a High School English teacher.