Students face stigmas for their significant others


Art by: Juliana Jacobson

Acacia Harrell

“No one should be afraid to kiss in public like any regular heterosexual. No one should be afraid to be in love,” stated senior Ren Tallent.
Infographic by: Acacia Harrell

According to The Cougar Press’ school wide student survey, 3.7 percent of students identify as gay, 9.8 percent of students identify as bisexual and 4.5 percent of students identify with other/questioning.

When this percentage of students engage in romantic relationships, they are the minority at VHS, as 82.1 percent of students identify as straight. Are these students treated differently for being in a gay relationship than they would be if they were in a straight relationship?

“We’re in a much more progressive society than we were a few decades ago, but there’s still a stigma and a large amount of oppression against queer couples,” stated senior Ren Tallent. He went on to say that though we as a society have become more progressive over the years, there is still stigmas and oppression against queer couples. Tallent also believes homophobia has become more prevalent since the Trump Administration took office.

Tallent gave a personal experience: “I’m very comfortable in my identity in public, but one time I was out with my boyfriend and I was holding his hand and kissing his cheek and he expressed to me that he didn’t want to in public because he was afraid of what people would say or do to us. That shocked me.”

When it comes to future hope regarding LGBTQ+ relationships and how they are perceived and treated, Tallent wants acceptance: “I hope that people just see it as a normal preference and that people stop assuming that every single person is straight. I want us to stop being killed all over the world for loving differently than the norm.”

Junior Isabelle Williams remembers receiving slander after kissing her girlfriend in public, “These guys drove by and yelled ‘F*ck you!’ at us and then at the end of the street, they turned around to come back by us and flip us off out the windows,” stated Williams. Williams went on to say, “I don’t want people coming up to me and saying ‘congrats’ for being openly gay, just some more relaxation towards it.”

Senior Brooke Stevenson gave her opinion on how LGBTQ+ relationships are portrayed, or lack thereof, in the media. “Heteronormative movies and media as a whole, that’s probably where I feel most underrepresented.”

“It should be accepted,” concluded Stevenson.