Part of the Pride

Inclusivity is key to creating a closer and safer community


It’s club day at LHS and students shuffle out of the school to see various exhibits and posters for all kinds of organizations at Langley. One such club is the Gay-Straight-Alliance which, endorsed by FCPS, seeks to create an inclusive environment for LGBTQIA+ members at our school. The day was supposed to be one for meeting new members and getting the student body excited about everything the club had to offer; instead, they were hit by wave after wave of students laughing and joking while pushing their friends towards the stand, saying things like “Oh, he’s gay—he wants to join.” Think about it: is this the environment we want for our school? One that mocks minority groups for laughs?

Incidents like this one, and ones that go further such as a student spitting on a pride flag, show that our student body has created a discriminating environment towards LGBTQIA+ members and the community as a whole, something which needs to end. Faculty, on the other hand, have recently shown their increasing support for the advancement of LGBTQIA+ rights and the movement as a whole by hanging flags near their doors and inside their classrooms. The flags signify the unity among staff on the subject during a time when schools are not the safest spaces for those in the LGBTQIA+ community. With faculty making the first step—becoming openly supportive of LGBTQIA+ rights—the student community needs to follow suit to create a safe and open atmosphere for queer and trans students.




To students in the LGBTQIA+ community, constantly hearing slurs, intentional misgendering or misuse of pronouns, and other insensitive dialogue in the halls of their school makes feeling accepted very difficult. This mood makes it almost impossible for students to feel comfortable in talking about their identity, a basic human right. Slurs are not funny―neither is belittling others for laughs.

Yet the role of social media in propagating this language is impossible to deny. While social media sites like Instagram and TikTok highlight profiles for LGBTQIA+ empowerment, they also provide a medium for hate speech. Seeing accounts with millions of followers making jokes at the expense of queer or trans individuals normalizes the casual use of offensive language. General insensitivity in language creates a negative stigma that often invites people to speak in a harmful way. This happens in Langley’s hallways, locker rooms, and lunch tables. Social media sites are also a place for people to send anonymous hate to individual people or clubs, several incidents of which have occurred at Langley. 

“I used to get a lot of comments from people who now claim to be allies basically dragging me for being gay or making really bad jokes underneath my posts,” anonymous LGBTQIA+ community member said. 

We aren’t saying to go and delete all social media sites, and while that wouldn’t be the end of the world, the key is to be more conscious of daily language both at school and on the web. 


FCPS Legislation


It seems like overhearing jokes at the expense of a minority group in the hallways is not uncommon, creating a pattern of insensitivity in everyday dialogue. The intention behind it isn’t necessarily malicious—often, students are just looking to make their friends laugh, but the principle behind it is wrong. While minority groups have unfortunately been mocked for laughs since the beginning of time, mocking others has never been the right thing to do. These jokes communicate a larger issue within the school: the student body is generally less inclusive than it should be. 

FCPS has plenty of legislation protecting the rights of LGBTQIA+ students; however, their policies lack enforcement. The page of “LGBTQIA+ Student Resources and Supports” on the FCPS website lists an outdated link to Regulation 2603, followed by bullet points to create “an equitable, safe, and supportive school environment” for “gender-expansive and transgender students.” The bulleted list is great, “ensuring” the use of correct pronouns, the right to privacy, and much more. However, the gaping hole in the resources page is how they “ensure” these rights. FCPS created a website that lists all the things they want LGBTQIA+ students to have but never mentions how administrations or faculty should run their schools to achieve these goals. The result of this is that administrators are left to their interpretation of how to “ensure” these principles, a system which—according to members of the LGBTQIA+ community at Langley—is failing. 

Several members of the LGBTQIA+ community at Langley expressed that the administration’s investigation into harassment incidents was lackluster, leaving them feeling uncomfortable to come to school. This can be attributed to the failure in FCPS policy, and, based on discussion with members of our LGBTQIA+ community, this is where administrators struggle. If FCPS were to define a reasonable way to enforce these principles, then schools across the Fairfax pyramid would likely have a better chance at stopping many of these incidents from occurring. 


The Solution


First off, FCPS needs to revise its LGBTQIA+ resources page so that the policy is up to date, providing clear-cut regulations so that administrators can properly enforce the expectations. One such rule would include checking bathrooms frequently and on a regular schedule. Bathrooms tend to be the epicenter of LGBTQIA+ hate, made worse by a lack of supervision in them. The easy fix is to have an adult simply check in every once in a while to ensure safety. 

While Langley Links would be the ideal place for a lesson in LGBTQIA+ inclusion, we all know that student participation in Links is lacking, leading the course to fail in its goals. Therefore, we propose that the humanities courses take up the reins. For example, English classes could read, analyze, and hold class discussions about stories with queer and trans representation, and history classes could study incidents throughout the history of the movement.

So, how do you fix this as a student? Start with outreach. Langley has hundreds of clubs, several of which focus on inclusivity in the surrounding community; one such club is the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) @langleyhsgsa. The club is student-run and meets every Monday, discussing topics from LGBTQIA+ history to modern issues. FCPS also sponsors many more community-based organizations that can be found on their website, organizations like the Trevor Project and Point Foundation. Getting involved with one of these organizations, or just listening to what they have to say is one of the first steps in creating a more inclusive student body. 

Ultimately, many members of the LGBTQIA+ community lack a safe space at home to express their identity, so facing discrimination or homophobia at school is detrimental to their mental well-being. Every student has the right to feel safe and accepted at school—it’s up to the student body to ensure the inclusivity of Langley’s LGBTQIA+ community to create a more welcoming environment for everyone at school.