Transcending Prejudice: Transgender Students at East Ridge
Written by Grace Amos
There is a type of bullying that exists on a daily basis that flies under the radar of most staff members here at ERHS: gender and sexuality discrimination.
Sage Winmill, a female-to-male transgender senior here at East Ridge offered insight into what the school environment is like. “For the most part, I feel comfortable coming to school everyday. There are occurrences where people have called me ‘tranny’ or lesbian. The teachers here are really helpful, especially Mrs. Frisco. Most staff members have been helpful and ask me questions, make sure I’m comfortable all the time.”
One experience Sage shared about a group of student that made him feel uncomfortable at school was very distressing. “Pretty recently I was walking out to the parking lot after fifth hour, and a couple of students followed me out, laughing and pointing at me, calling me lesbian while I was walking to my car. A couple things like that would happen if I was walking in the hallway and no one was around, people will often do that to me.”
When asked what changes ERHS should make to have a safe environment for transgender students, he replied, “I feel like they need to educate the student body here, because a lot of students here don’t really know anything about the LGBTQ community in general, transgenders especially. They should do something to educate the students here that we are not something to be mocked or made fun of.”
Mrs. Frisco, an art teacher at East Ridge, and one of three advisors to the GSA (Gender and Sexuality Club), spoke about ways we can support transgender students, saying, “In school, you should be an ally to gay and transgender students. This means that if you see someone being bullied or discriminated against, make it known to that person, or group of people, that it is not okay to do that to someone who identifies as gay or transgender.”
Both Sage and Mrs. Frisco’s words on the matter at hand will hopefully shift the attitude of students and staff about what can be done to make everyone feel more comfortable and accepted at school.