Students discuss the struggles of being
a queer teen
By Ezra Zelez, Reporter
Queer teens have been getting more and more recognized in this modern society, but they are still struggling with feeling validated by friends and family. In many cases these struggles stem from parents who are not properly informed about the LGBTQ+ community. Everyone that is a part of the LGBTQ+ community deserves to be welcomed with open arms, but sadly not everyone is.
While some people feel that coming out is inconsequential, it is an important part of most queer teens’ lives. While the reactions from different friends and family members can have varying degrees of influence, for many the response from a parent is one of the most important. What their parents do or say can affect their confidence and willingness to be open and out.
“I never really came out to either of my parents, mainly due to fears of being rejected,” senior Charlie Spradlin said.
There is a continuous pressure of wanting to come out for validation and acceptance, but there is also this fear of rejection. According to The Washington Post, approximately 46 percent of homeless LGBTQ+ youth had run away because of rejection in regards to their identity or sexual orientation. 43 percent of homeless queer youth were forced out by parents, and 32 percent faced emotional, physical, or sexual abuse at home.
Feeling unsafe to come out can alter the life of many queer teens, especially since they depend on acceptance to be able to be themselves around everyone. According to statistics, not being straight is generally more accepting than being gender queer.
“It’s more accepted for people to not be straight than to be transgender, nonbinary, etc.,” Spradlin said.
Some feel that Vashon is a relatively liberal, privileged area when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, coming out still has its challenges and requires an immense amount of bravery
“Coming out is something that takes a lot of courage, even if you have supportive family or friends,” sophomore Dakota McBride said.
Coming out is a form of self-acceptance, and in a lot of ways the world has come a long way in terms of acceptance; however many still don’t come out due to safety concerns. While it is a long, arduous way to end hostility towards queer teens, it is not impossible.