GSA members open up about coming out

Grace Reyes '19, Staff Writer

High school can be a confusing time in any young adult’s life, especially when they are figuring out who they really are. For people in the LGBT community, these times can be exceptionally confusing.

“It didn’t happen overnight.  There was definitely a long time of denial and confusion for sure,”  Harry Susalla ‘18 said.  “People use gay as an insult.  It definitely changes your perception of yourself and has a very negative and psychological effect on you.”

“Coming out” can be a terrifying moment in any person’s life due to the positive or negative responses they may receive.

“It was mainly for coming out as genderfluid.  One time I wanted to have a gender neutral  name.  My oldest sister was pretty negative about that. At first it was very difficult with my family.  They still wanted me to be very feminine; they didn’t want me to cut my hair or anything,” Payton Brandt ‘19 said.

“Now, they’re like ‘oh come in this gender neutral store’ or ‘oh look at these cute guy shoes’. My sister attends GSA sometimes for me, she’s very supportive and the other one is adjusting to it. She accepts me, but still some things make her a little uncomfortable.”  Brandt said.

The Gay-Straight Alliance club, or GSA,  is a club for students at South to come express themselves and their feeling on matters affecting people today.

“It’s comforting being around people you can be open around, you’re just comfortable with your friends.  You don’t have to talk about it, but you know you’re accepted by them,” Brandt said.

GSA also encourages students who identify as straight to come express themselves, and support their friends.

“I originally joined GSA my sophomore year, but I’ve always been interested in LGBT rights and issues we face in our society and around the world,“ Susalla said.

Although same sex marriage is now legalized in America, there are many issues they still face today, according to Susalla.

“Conversion therapy needs to be illegal. Conversion therapy, from what I’ve read, is only illegal in six states,” Susalla said. “Psychologists and doctors have proven that that doesn’t work.  It just makes you scared to be with guys.  Issues like that need to be addressed in high schools and in our country.”

According to Susalla, the reality is that in many circumstances kids have a negative response to their coming out.

“You are who you are.  Don’t let anyone think you’re different than that.  If people along the way don’t accept that then you may have to leave people behind on your journey coming out of the closet,” Said Brandt.

“Coming out” can be stressful, but South has provided many resources like the counselors or GSA club that both can help in the process as well.

“You just follow what your heart tells you because majority of the time that is what’s correct.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,” Brandt said.  “Don’t let people say it doesn’t make sense according to science, not everything is proven in science and whoever you are you are.”