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Promoting Pride at NHP

By Linda Cheung

NHP Memorial’s Gay Straight Alliance participated in the LGBT Youth Conference hosted by the LGBT Network on May 22, 2023. The conference aims to empower queer youth across Long Island by educating participants on LGBTQ+ advocacy and activism. The youth conference intends to foster a sense of community and belonging among members of the queer community by connecting LGBTQ+ students across many high schools.

“We participated in presentations of queer representation in media as well as lessons for safe and healthy relationships, with advice that was specifically tailored towards queer couples. There were also workshops involving LGBT activism and interactive sessions to talk to other queer individuals,” senior Paul Wang said.

“The GSA participated in a plethora of really fun workshops which centered around LGBTQ knowledge and advice for our clubs as well as personal advice. My friend was in the 'Boost Your GSA' workshop which gave us some great ideas for next year and what activities we might produce as a club,” junior Sarah Munson said.

Source from Ms. Katz

Members of NHP's Gay Straight Alliance, along with members from Carey and Sewanhaka, participate in a variety of activities at the Long Island LGBT Youth Conference hosted by the LGBT Network.

In preparation for Pride Month, NHP GSA decorated the school with rainbow-themed streamers and banners. Ms. Katz, along with members of GSA, displayed decorations across the school building, including streamers outside the junior and senior high cafeterias and rainbow banners hanging from stairwells.

“For the GSA, really our biggest month is Pride Month, just the fact of the cultural significance around it," GSA Vice President Nicholas Washington said. “Over the year, we generally try and do funding for Pride Month. This year and last year it was kind of restricted in the fact that when it comes to the GSA, we also have to acknowledge that not everybody’s out, and because of that we can only have so much help...when we are so limited in the number of people we have to help that sort of limited our funding which meant that we had to keep it to the areas we knew people would see it. The problem with the fact that we have to allow people to see it and show that we are doing something is that people are going to tear it down. It’s gone already. We’re putting it up there, knowing it’s going to get torn down. Last year, people tore it down while we were putting it up. It’s always an expected thing to happen, but we are like ‘If even just one person feels more positive just by putting in this work, then we find it worth it.’”

Many students also discuss the importance of Pride Month, as many feel it is a time to reflect on decades of LGBTQ+ activism and history.

“Pride Month is a really important time to acknowledge the history of the LGBTQ+ community in this country, especially worldwide,” junior Guranaad Kaur said. “People from this community have been prosecuted for centuries, especially in the western world, so it’s incredibly important to acknowledge that history and dedicate that time to proving to LGBTQ+ people that ‘Yes, we hear you, we love you, you guys exist, we’re not going to let this culture of bigotry keep going on any longer.’ It’s also a very important time to highlight members of the community for the work they’ve done, whether it’s in the community or it’s people who’ve been silenced throughout history, for example, Alan Turing during the second world war. Overall I think it’s just a very essential month, and it’s a very essential time period of acknowledging the work of all these people who throughout history have been ignored and prosecuted just for loving who they love or being who they are.”

“‘Pride Month is a reminder that despite the often toxic discourse on social media and in government, the vast majority of people are very accepting of queer people.’”

Some students also feel that Pride Month recognizes the history of the Stonewall Riots, a series of demonstrations that acted as a catalyst for the Gay Liberation Movement.

“Pride Month gives voice to members of the LGBTQ+ community,” junior Joseph Reo said. “Especially to those who don’t have a strong voice and to those that are afraid to speak out, not only afraid to speak up, but also face persecution if they speak out. To celebrate the work that has been done by pioneers like Marsha P. Johnson, and anyone who was at the Stonewall Riots. They paved the way for LGBTQ+ rights and also allowed us to have the rights that we have today.”

Many students reflect on the personal meaning of Pride Month. At a time when the Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans, many feel that queer visibility is more important than ever.

“Pride Month is important since there are still unfortunately so many queer people who do not feel safe in their own skin, or they don’t have proper channels of support and connections where they can be themselves,” Wang said. “For me, Pride Month is a reminder that despite the often toxic discourse on social media and in government, the vast majority of people are very accepting of queer people. This is very important to me as it makes me realize that I can be accepted no matter what.”


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