GLSEN Teens Shining a Light
During their December meeting, the GLSEN TN SHINE team took a few moments to dream about 2019. Below some of their young people shared their fears and hopes for the upcoming year:
Fear: With more people knowing about the LGBT community, there also comes more stereotypes. Stereotypes aren't always accurate. I am not what you would think of when you think of a gay male. I worry about the impact of stereotypes in 2019.
Hope: A more accepting community of allies that actually know how to help.
Shylamar, age 17
Fear: More LGBTQ youth completing suicide, because of not being accepted by others.
Hope: For more people to reach out to other queer youth and talk to them, and to support them.
Fear: What is happening in politics changes our community. What politicians have to say, and the laws they want to pass, it changes things in our community, so I’m worried about political impacts on the LGBT community.
Hope: For more activities and clubs to be inclusive of LGBT people. I hope more spaces will accept everyone for who they are and not just what they identify as.
Fear: People not taking LGBT issues seriously, because a lot of people like to disregard LGBTQ people’s struggle. If you disregard that, you disregard us.
Hope: More in-depth and accepting education of LGBTQ people. Staying away from stereotypes, and honest education, based on actual LGBTQ people, teaching more people what it actually means.
Fear: That I'll become complacent with where we are as a society and stop caring as much as I do.
Hope: That I will be able to have productive conversations with those that don’t agree with us, and realize that we have more in common than we have different.
Fear: That our high school Gender and Sexuality Alliance will not last. Something might happen that results in it being disbanded again.
Hope: Students and teachers will become more accepting of our GSA. I hope people will learn to tolerate its existence, and maybe even support it.
Fear: Seeing the education system regress in inclusiveness and standards, becoming less accepting environments and seeing standards that do not help our future generations prepare for life.
Hope: To learn about the different stories of people around the globe and to help fight against inequality in every corner of the world.
Fear: My fear for 2019 is going to college in the fall and being an adult!
Hope: My hope is that Congress will pass The Equality Act to ensure that members of the LGBTQ+ aren't discriminated against for being who they are.
The GLSEN SHINE Team is a group of student leaders working to create safer schools and communities throughout Tennessee. The team members meet regularly throughout the year to develop skills, form a network of other youth leaders, and organize programs in the community that promote respect for LGBTQA+ students.
SHINE members are committed to being inclusive and responsible, open to learning, willing to examine their own privileges, and dedicated to developing leadership and activism skills.
GLSEN SHINE members have recently shared their thoughts with O&AN on a number of topics:
Letter: Words Matter, Lives Hang in the Balance
Experiencing Pride for the first time
Student activists commemorated Pulse massacre with Legislative Plaza die-in