By Rachel Ulrey
Walking down the halls at Westmont, you may have noticed a new mural depicting the LGBTQ+ flag. Designed by Lauren Lochner, this mural is intended to convey how Westmont—in particular the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA)—supports and welcomes all members of the LGBTQ+ community. In efforts to foster a more inclusive and amicable environment on Westmont’s campus, members of the GSA as well as students from Westmont’s greater community have contributed to painting the mural, while participating in good-natured discussions surrounding news and topics related to the LGBTQ+ community.
By Lily Matt
By Alessandra Kelly
My Left Hand
By Anjali Nayak
Sexuality is as simple as using my right hand or my left. When I was younger I reached for toys, rocks, and other objects with my left hand. It wasn’t until I learned how to write that any other reality seemed possible. I didn’t always know that my identity was a touchy topic of decision. Who I am shouldn’t be something that people argue the morality of in a triggered, confrontational stance. It never crossed my mind that voices raised, friends became enemies, and that there was even an argument against my very being. I’m still not sure why, but my kindergarten teacher absolutely insisted that I learn to write with my right hand instead of my left.
After years of intense scrutiny and an embarrassing number of Am I Gay? quizzes, I am proud to say that the awkward days of writing with my right hand are long gone. However, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I am at ease with my sexuality. While movies, books, and other forms of media portray coming out as the solution to all problems, I’ve been left with more questions than I started with. Sure I’m not straight, but am I gay enough? Yes, I’ve come to terms with my queerness, but I still want to relatively fit in—am I straight enough? The constant straddle has made it increasingly hard to walk the fine line issued by society, I’m often embarrassed to admit that I’m queer as other people are quick to make assumptions about my entire persona. The public view focuses on external homophobia, while the internal conflict largely goes unnoticed. It’s hard to break habits, especially when the said habit is hate. This concept of the LGBTQ+ community being inferior to straight people has been drilled into my head, leading me to question the entirety of my self-worth.
Although I haven’t completely cracked the code for self-love and self peace, I’ve realized that I can’t let other people define me. Why is it that ONE aspect of my identity cements my behavior, appearance, and personality? Why should I have to prove my sexuality? Overcoming such institutionally straight societal norms is a difficult task no one should be expected to do. The road to self-discovery may be long, but look back, and see how far you’ve already come.
By Kendyl Brower
I always dreaded the idea that one day I would have to come out in some sort of flamboyant parade of pride or tear-evoking confession to my parents. I’m glad to say I was just in the bathroom at a party with Lindsay Der when I blurted out, “I’m bisexual.”
I think there is an odd pressure on queer kids to have this huge revelation, to one day wake up and decide I’m officially gay now. I know for me, knowing my sexuality was a gradual process with lots of confusion, contemplation, and consternation. For many queer kids, coming to terms with one’s sexuality is challenging—there is no straightforward answer or stringent qualifications when it comes to identity. Moreover, one’s sexuality can be subject to change; some need time to find their true self, so coming out proves difficult when you yourself have no idea what you are.
As well, the very essence of coming out otherizes the queer community as people who must be “accepted” by society. Dominique Jackson, a trans actress, puts it best: “my life is not for someone else to accept.” Not to mention, not everyone receives the privileges of acceptance from their loved ones, so a huge coming out can be extremely intimidating.
Opening up about your sexuality can be a beautiful moment, but, it doesn’t have to be: your sexual preference is only one aspect of your multi-faceted character. Be loud, be gay, celebrate who you are—just know that quiet pride is just as powerful.
By Jupiter Polevoi
Coming to terms with sexuality—in any shape or form—is never a smooth ride. Not knowing which button to click on surveys when prompted with the “sexuality” or “gender” question is an experience I know too well. However, no matter how long it takes to get to the end (if there even is one) of the “figuring yourself out” road, everyone deserves the utmost respect and support, and respecting one’s pronouns and name is the easiest thing you can do.
As someone who uses they/them pronouns, I’ve heard it all. “But they means more than one person?” “Are you a boy or a girl?” “Is your name really Jupiter?” Even writing this article numerous blue lines have popped up when using my pronouns. One of my biggest struggles is correcting people when they misgender or deadname me, and I feel a rush of joy when an ally corrects someone for me.
My family isn’t very supportive, and although that doesn’t stop me from taking the initiative to reach out to my teachers and old friends that I go by a different name, I still can’t expect to be called my preferred name. As much as I want to say it doesn’t bother me, sometimes I just really wish things were different. Is it that much of a burden to switch a name? Your family is always supposed to be your number one supporters, but it’s easy to see how much that isn’t true when it comes to a topic like this.
No matter where you are in your journey of self-discovery, there are tons of supportive and alike people you should try to surround yourself with. We will all get to our place at some point, it just takes time and patience. Like John Green said in Looking for Alaska, “Thomas Edison’s last words were ‘It’s very beautiful over there.’ I don’t know where ‘there’ is, but I believe it is somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.”
P.S.: if you deadname or misgender someone by accident, it’s okay! Making a scene or a big deal about it usually makes it worse. If it happens, simply correct yourself, apologize briefly, and move on!