As New Trier honors LGBTQ History Month, some urge the school to do more

Some students and teachers disappointed at New Trier’s LGBTQ+ History Month

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As New Trier celebrated LGBTQ history month last October, some students say the school should do more to acknowledge the community. 

As New Trier celebrated LGBTQ history month last October, highlighting pioneers of the movement, some students say the school should do more to acknowledge the community. 

As a part of the school’s monthly observances, the school collaborated with the Student Council and its Equity Chairs to better approach this sensitive issue. 

During these observances, different classes and clubs display information about the LGBTQ community, and teachers offer  opportunities to teachers and staff to educate them on specific issues, said Patricia Savage-Williams, the New Trier Equity Liaison.

“I think that New Trier is trying to raise consciousness. We try to make sure that all staff really understand the students. Our effort during LGBTQ history month was to raise consciousness of staff,” Savage-Williams said.

I think [the school tries]. I don’t think they try hard enough. The staff needs more education.”

— Serena “Bean” Vandergrift (she/her)

The school has taken a variety of actions to make the school a safe space for LGBTQ students, but to many, they’re not doing enough. 

Students of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA)  agree that New Trier needs to do more. The GSA aims to address anti-LGTBQ bigotry at New Trier, as well as raise awareness of those issues. 

Serena “Bean” Vandergrift (she/her), a member of the GSA feels that the school  isn’t putting in enough effort to reach out to the whole school community and educate folks on LGBTQ issues. 

“I think they try. I don’t think they try hard enough. The staff needs more education. I think if we could take what’s done in GSA and Skittles and bring that to the school as a whole, it would solve most of the problems,” she said. 

 Sebastian “Bash” Collins (he/they/ey), also a member of the GSA, echoes the same sentiment. 

“I would do more reaching out to students to share resources. I wish we could have more thoughtful and constructive conversations in every classroom about LGBTQ issues,” he said.  

Cax Moore, (he/they) stated that he feels like New Trier does have good intentions when it comes to LGBTQ issues. 

“It’s impact versus intent. There’s always good intent,” said Moore. 

But New Trier still has an issue when it comes to bigotry within the student body, he said. 

“Most queer people I know have been called slurs.” 

Some staff also feel like there is more to be done. Librarian Matthew Stuczynski, who sponsors the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, believes New Trier could do more to support queer students. 

“I’d like to see the school go out of their way to hire more LGBTQ staff.” 

Stuczynski acknowledges New Trier has a tough job to do when it comes to properly supporting queer students because of the current political climate. 

“There’s been backlash in the country as a whole to LGBTQ history and celebration thereof.” 

To Ms. Savage-Williams, New Trier is making steady progress in the right direction. 

“It’s all a process, it’s all a journey. Some people are in different places on their journey. For some people, they have never heard [these issues and identities] before, so their minds are blown by what we’re doing,” said Savage-Williams.