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Spectrum and How to Be a Good Ally

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As another installment in my feminism column, here, on the Osprey, I wanted to write about LOLHS’s Spectrum club and speak to some of the members about how one could be a better ally to the LGBTQ+ community.

I spoke with Kathryn Atkinson, Connie Pan, and Juliette Atkinson, a few members of Spectrum, about the club they are a part of and its goals at LOLHS.

If you are unaware, Spectrum, or as it is also called, Diversity Club, is a club, here at LOLHS, that focuses on promoting equality and diversity in LOLHS. The club, as Kathryn Atkinson said, “tries to bring awareness to things like Day of Silence or World Aids Day” and they are currently working on a campaign called “What do you stand for?”. You may have also seen the large sign in the commons that starts with the words: “LOLHS Welcomes…”, and this is also the product of Spectrum and their goal to spread acceptance and equality. Club members pick projects and even ts that they would like to work on, and their weekly meetings are used to complete these projects and to also have discussions about equality. Overall, Spectrum’s message is that, LOLHS accepts everyone.

I also asked the Spectrum members if they had anything to say to students at LOLHS who are not part of the LGBTQ+ community on how to be better allies. Firstly, “gay” should never be used as an insult, as a sexuality is not something to be ashamed of or something that is bad in any way. Bullying someone because of their sexuality, or using a sexuality as an insult is wrong and very hurtful. So please mind yourself and your peers and call them out if they ever say any comments that are homophobic.

Connie Pan also remarked that telling members of the LGBTQ+ community to “be more religious” is certainly far from okay. Not only is this shaming someone for their sexuality and implies that their sexuality is something wrong, but it also is an example of using religion to manipulate and hate on others-which is very sad.

Connie also added that while people may have the best intentions, an ally shouldn’t try to “overly sympathize”. She further explained this by saying that “a lot of the issues that LGBT people face are not ones that allies have to” and when allies claim that they, too have gone through those specific struggles as well, it is usually not the case and essentially devalues the struggles many members of the LGBTQ+ community have faced.

The girls stated that people are often not inclusive of all identities or acknowledge that people experience love and sexuality on such a large spectrum. They also added that many identities are not recognized; while many people have seen “gay” and “lesbian” in the media, “asexual” and “demisexual” are words seldom seen.

To conclude the interview, they also mentioned that, in the past, there have been instances where students had, for example,  come up to Spectrum’s table and made jokes about World AIDS Day and behavior that makes light of these situations only serves to promote intolerance and makes for an accepting environment. Just listen, be respectful, and be mindful of what you say and how you say those things.

In conclusion, in order to be a good ally, you must be acknowledge your privilege, be respectful, be kind, and stand up for what is right and equal.

If you would like to join Spectrum, all are welcome and meetings occur at 7:15 in the gymnasium every Wednesday morning.

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Spectrum and How to Be a Good Ally