By Minhee Lee
The differences among the students who walk the halls of South are unending. Each student aspires to achieve a different goal in life. Despite this, there is one thing that we all carry in common: the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is the simplest yet sometimes most unattainable quest in life. As teenagers, the largest obstacle to finding our happiness is the simple question of figuring out our identity. Who am I? Being able to answer this one question opens the door to finding a place where we are happiest and most comfortable. But it isn’t as easy as it seems, and the struggle is real.
As a straight ally and member of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), I can’t help but acknowledge that the LGBTQ community must face this question as well as the much greater problem of coming to terms with society and its rules. Faced with the stigmas of persecution and homophobia that plague our nation, LGBTQ members must carry an extra burden. Shackled by the fear of discrimination, their pursuit of happiness becomes an elongated journey; however, GSA is one of many movements throughout the nation that help to unfetter these chains.
In middle school, I was not aware of how many of my friends could be gay or bisexual. It was something that had never crossed my mind. I simply assumed that it wasn’t even a possibility, so I felt no personal connection to the idea of homosexuality. As the years progressed, I witnessed some of my peers coming out, which opened my eyes to my ignorance and inability to connect the dots: homosexuality is a part of reality that the world must accept. I joined GSA in order to support a friend who has been there for me ever since I was young. The fact that he was gay didn’t change how much I loved him or the fact that I would support him.
I’m proud to see that the GSA’s spread of awareness has helped build a stronger foundation for the LGBTQ community at South. I feel that we have become more accepting and open-minded as a collective student body that encourages students to be more comfortable in their own skins. Having been a member of GSA since its reestablishment this past school year, I have seen the profound impact GSA has had on the student body. As a result of the increase in GSA’s awareness, more of my friends have openly expressed their support for the LGBTQ community. Similar to the shift in opinions on the topic of same-sex marriage amongst politicians, a movement to support LGBTQ rights has also swept through the members of South’s student body, thanks to the GSA club.
I support the Gay Straight Alliance’s endeavors because I believe that happiness is not a privilege that belongs selectively to a particular group of people. Rather, the pursuit of happiness is an inherent right that should be accessible to all. My friends, regardless of who they love, deserve the same rights and the same amount of respect as any other human being. Like all the students you see walking through the halls of our school, members of the LGBTQ community are on their own search for happiness and belonging.
While South has yet to become a utopian school that offers full acceptance of the
LGBTQ community and its straight allies, the Gay Straight Alliance club has helped narrow the distance from this dream and the forthcoming reality. Show your support for collective happiness and acceptance by joining the GSA!