LGBTQ+ community should be more supported by schools, students say

Saxon Mullaney, an openly lesbian freshman, thinks that Lincoln can do more to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) students.

LGBTQ+ rights have moved bothforward and backward with the legalization of gay marriage followed by the ban on transgender people in the military. In Lincoln, LGBTQ students don’t always feel accepted.

Mullaney believes that Lincoln should provide more resources to LGBTQ+ students.

“[Lincoln] needs to give us more opportunities to meet and talk to people if we need help,” Mullaney said. She is a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) and has found homophobic slurs on GSA posters in hallways. “One of the leaders of the GSA told me that a guy almost got ran over [with a car] by a student while being called slurs,” she added.

According to a recent anti-bullying presentation by Lincoln students, LGBTQ+ students in the United States are five times more likely to attempt suicide than those who are heterosexual. Thirty-four percent of LGBTQ+ students have experienced bullying at school and twenty-eight percent have been cyberbullied.

While identifying as LGBTQ+ can be a challenge, being a part of the LGBTQ+ community has also provided Mullaney with new and positive experiences, one of them being in the GSA. She has met many amazing and supportive individuals since she joined the Alliance.

“The club is great. We talk for about half of [the meetings] and then [work on plans],” Mullaney explained.

Scarlett Slick, a heterosexual freshman, also shared her view on the LGBTQ+ community. “I don’t look at [LGBTQ+ students] any differently. We are all human, and every single person deserves the right to be who they truly are,” she said. “[But] LGBTQ+ students are bullied at our school because people don’t have an open mind.”

This issue isn’t limited to school communities. In a survey of adult LGBTQ+ Americans conducted by PEW Research Center in 2013, “Thirty percent say they have been physically attacked or threatened… twenty-one say they have been treated unfairly by an employer… fifty-eight say they’ve been the target of slurs or jokes.”

“When someone comes out to you, don’t ask questions, freak out, or act weird,” Mullaney said. “Just say that you support them.”