If one were to look at Timber Creek’s past, they would see that it is no stranger to controversy when it comes to the treatment of the LGBTQIA+ student population. From the Casey Akers promposal scandal of 2015 to the #justiceforelliot brigade, both of which made cable television, it is reasonable to assume that the queer community may have a different high school experience than others.

In attempts to cast a light on an often overshadowed minority, below are a list of quotes, all from current students, on their time in high school as an LGBTQIA+ student. While some students wish to remain anonymous, most quotes will be accompanied with name, grade level, sexuality/gender preference, and their favorite photograph of themselves.


 

 

 

 

“High school has been fine, all [of] my friends treat me normally, and accept [and] love me. I haven’t ever had an issue with [discrimination] throughout my high school years.” –Devan McConnel, grade 12, lesbian

 

 


“During the [Elliot] protest, which was iconic, we reached out to dozens of students who had spewed hate on twitter, and invited them to a [GSA] meeting to bridge the gap between students. We offered information and sources of which they could read, and inform themselves on different [sexual] identities to hopefully get an understanding, and the only responses we received were negative. Many told us to respect their values or ‘morals’. These students were never punished unless multiple reports were filed in which we would have to remember the exact place and time of the account so security cameras could verify that the guys who were wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hats were calling us ‘f*ggots’ and anti-trans slurs… During my freshman year, the feud was so bad, we had to install a buddy system in GSA and for all LGBT students where you could volunteer to walk a [LGBT] kid that felt like  they were not safe.”- Brooklyn Bailey, grade 12, pansexual

 

 

 


“It’s weird being able to see how people act depending on who you’re dating. [However] for the most part, people were super nice, and even if they didn’t agree with [my sexuality] they would still be friends with me. I luckily had amazing friends who were accepting with whatever was happening.” –Anonymous, grade 12, bisexual


 

 

“High school at Timber Creek has been much more open-minded and welcoming than my old schools, which were private and Christian. I feel like I can be free to be me when walking down the halls. I’ve learned to embrace my femininity and not be ashamed of who and what I am. Sure, there’s always backlash from haters and people who are just flat out ignorant, but it’s better to block them out than to listen to them…I did get called a f*ggot in choir one time but I immediately shut them down, because obviously being in a choir class, there’s going to be a lot of queer people.” –Cay Duffer, grade 12, gay and nonbinary

 

 


 

 

 

“My [high school] experience has been pretty good. I have never been bullied by anyone heterosexual for being who I am, but I have seen others throughout my high school experience make fun of other LGBT students, from how they dress, to their hairstyle.” –Eric McCullough, grade 12, gay

 

 

 


 

 

“I’m gay, I’ve been lucky enough to never really have any negative experiences as a member of the LGBTQ+ community at Timber Creek. I’ve felt able to express who I am within our band program, which has essentially become a second family for me. The band hall is where I feel safest to be my best true queer self.” –Bill Smith, grade 12, gay


 

“My experience as an LGBT student has been pretty calm, mainly because I don’t know if people realize I’m bisexual, or maybe they just don’t care. I have had nothing but love from my friends since I came out in April… [however] I went to this one Falcon bible study as I was trying to find myself religiously, and they had made comments against gay people and I just got really mad, but stuck it out. After that I never went back to that bible study or any other one.” –Paige Rath, grade 11, bisexual

 


“I discovered [my sexuality] and came out when I was a freshman and it was honestly really hard for me to come to terms with, because when I was in middle school, a lot of the students would use ‘gay’ as an insult and make being LGBT such a bad thing. I remember distinctly writing letters to my closest friends as my way of coming out, and everyone was really supportive of me which really made me feel accepted. I was made to feel like I wasn’t out of place for being bi and that it wasn’t a weird phase or something.” -Anonymous, grade 12, bisexual


 

 

 

 

“Well sophomore year [a fellow student] told me to kill myself. That’s about it. All of my friends have just been loving and supportive.” –Destinee Pierce, grade 12, bisexual

 

 


“My experience at Timber Creek has been over all really good. In middle school I was terrified for anyone to find out [about my sexuality] but when I came to Timber I began to feel more comfortable with myself and I think that has a lot to do with the school and its accepting nature. Now I’m comfortable with my friends knowing, and if anyone else finds out, I’m not scared to confirm it.” –Anonymous, grade 10, queer


 

 

“I haven’t been at [Timber Creek] long but my experiences have been mostly positive. The teachers are super supportive with pronouns and I haven’t had problems with students. I’m a leader of GSA and have been going since last year. It’s honestly helped a bunch to make me feel less alone. No one wants to feel alone in high school.” –Dee Lepine, grade 10, non-binary, queer

 


 

 

 

“I’ve had a pretty positive [high school] experience. My peers are pretty open minded and I pick and choose which teachers to come out to. I had a negative experience with one teacher this year, though. I wrote an essay about coming out, and he told me it was too political. Since then I’ve felt like he’s graded me super hard.” –Ariana Benard, grade 12, lesbian

 

 


“I’ve had people tell me, like, ‘umm you have a boyfriend so how are you bisexual?’ which is kind of annoying. Just because I have a boyfriend doesn’t mean that I’m not still bisexual, but it’s a common thing a lot of bisexuals get told so I dont really get offended… I’m not out to my family and probably won’t be unless I show up one day with a girlfriend, because my parents aren’t the most accepting people. The people I interact with at Timber Creek have always been nothing but supportive and accepting of me and my sexuality, but I also do go out of my way to not put myself into toxic situations or hang out with people who won’t accept me.” –Anonymous, grade 12, bisexual


 

 

“For the most part, my experience at Timber Creek has been positive. The faculty are very accepting and kind. Most of the students are always there for you if you ever need anything. There are always going to be bigots in the world wherever you go, and Timber Creek is no exception to this, but I would consider it to be a safe space where I am free to be myself.” –Zachary Feuling, grade 10, gay

 


 

 

 

“I’ve actually had a pretty good experience at [Timber Creek] I’m not treated any differently by people, that I know of… The topic of sexuality really isn’t brought up often enough to tell how people react to me. All of my friends are extremely accepting of who I am.” –Maverick Brazeal, grade 11, gay

 

 

 


“My experience as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in high school has been tolerable. My freshman year of high school, me and my friends organized a protest for transgender rights. I remember around fourth period, I was walking to my theatre class, holding my [protest] poster when I began getting harassed. Yes, I did report it. They never looked into it. I started panicking while getting yelled and laughed at, and ended up getting to class around a minute late. I explained to my teacher why I was tardy. She then looked at my poster and told me she was going to fail me on our class project for ‘turning it in late’. After that, she decided to go on a long tangent in class about why the protest was stupid. Another instance I remember was when I was a leader of the school’s Gay Straight Alliance, during my sophomore year. There were multiple instances where students would scream derogatory slurs at us, such as ‘f*ggot’ during our meetings. When we reported it, we were told ‘no staff was there, so nobody knows if it really happened’ even though there was a camera in the hallway, and a zero tolerance policy on bullying, or I thought so at least. I’ve experienced some other similar instances like that with certain hateful homophobic groups or people, but I’ve realized throughout my four years of high school that most students are growing to be much more accepting. I acknowledge that I am much luckier than other students, friends of mine, who have been belittled and cast out of their social groups and school programs just because someone tried to expose their sexuality before they were ready. High school can be very dangerous for the queer community. It’s time we try even harder to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer lives before we lose even more.” –Kaylee Byrd, grade 12, pansexual 

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