As a Catholic school, it seems harder and harder to get our voices heard, the voices of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). We are constantly undermined with budget cuts and lack of participation from the students, the facility and the administration. We are forgotten, left behind, to evidently fail when left to our own devices. It seems that they have set us up for failure. But then it happens, one act that GSA sees as a "hate crime," and the campus changes. One "hate crime" and our president reacts, one "hate crime" over the years of being undermined and our school reacts. We have created a rainbow flag of love, made of cardstock paper filled with words of “what love means to you.” They were presented in the glass windows of our library one day and then torn down by an individual of our campus. We were in shock. We were angry and scared. Our school has not ever protected us before this and now we were being attacked. The GSA was being attacked. But that’s all it took.
It took one "hate crime" for more than just the normal 15 students to come together. It took one "hate crime" for the administration to stand with us. It took one "hate crime" to normalize the GSA, to give us a face, an emotion, and a sense of dignity.
We stood outside for two hours on April 8, 2016. We stood in silence to honor those who have not had the chance to speak up, those who have suffered previously and who still do, those who we have witnessed fall through a path of denial from more than one, and most importantly, for those who stand beside us. We stood in a group making a fenced pathway with our bodies. A fenced pathway with at most forty bodies. Forty men, women, and children stood with us, while the rest of our student body fell to their own ignorance. We stood and watched the heads drop as they passed. Students began to escape to the light their phones gave off rather than watch our sobering eyes meet theirs. Students giggled and made jokes, they let the littlest things slip out that meant more to us than they would have imagined. We were comfortable, we had the courage to be comfortable in a place that has previously made us feel everything other than such. We had the opportunity to put those people who have denied us our relevance to be in our place; to feel uncomfortable.It seems that this experience was pure negativity, but it was more than that. It allowed us to be able to see those who respected us, those who took the time to read the banners we held and give a slight smile of content, happiness, and appreciation. We had a larger group of students and faculty than previous years. We had children there to support us. Children who will have the right to grow up in a culture and a household that allows them to feel comfortable being who they are. Children who will grow up and join the group of us against injustice. We are beginning to create a world where children are growing up being able to be friends with the ones they like, kissing the gender they please, and marrying any human being they would like. We stood out from our school to create this. We are being a part of creating a culture where our differences are embraced through one another. Where we are able to look up and experience rather than escaping to the unsatisfactory screen under our fingertips. A culture that is made up of the accepting and educating those whose ignorance has become suffocating.