I started this article by eagerly wanting to garner support for hoisting the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer rainbow-striped pride flag at school.
Although my opinion hasn’t changed, the basis of this article has and for good reason.
I recall how I volunteered at a State Senator’s office and witnessed people passionately support the LGBTQ community; they believed the best method to show solidarity was to hoist their flag. This made me think about the flag and how it could be relevant to Walnut High’s community.
I returned to the Hoofprint staff and shared the idea with others. Soon, I was assigned to write an article, but as I started writing, questions arose about the practicality of such a symbolic change. Originally, I was fixed on sharing the political arguments and beliefs I usually convey to others. But through this writing process, my approach toward activism has changed. I had to sit down with adults, teachers and administration to examine different stances on the issue.
My original question was, “Why don’t we have a pride flag at school?” Observing the diversity here at this campus, I assumed it would be appropriate to have one. Ideally, it would be a message of inclusiveness and acceptance. However, I became more aware of the risks and the reaction from the community itself. People may feel singled out rather than included, or some may ask, “Did we not belong before?”
While we may have good intentions, we may also be blind to the consequences. I realized if one group wanted a flag and to be recognized, every group would want to do the same. But we can more effectively recognize different groups of people through our actions. We can stop using derogatory slurs. We can ask more questions. We can view people with an open mind. Although we may not all identify with a certain demographic, it’s vital we recognize and respect one another through our words and actions.
I’ve learned to put my political views aside and be more open to other people’s opinions. Recently, I had a conversation with a teacher and in the end my friend said, “You lost that argument.” However, it’s not about winning or losing an argument. It’s about listening to others’ stories and building an understanding.
This practice should not be limited to myself, but expanded to the school. Change will not come by being the loudest in the room, or by sharing or retweeting the most posts. It will come by starting a meaningful dialogue and building a stronger mutual consensus of how we can improve. It means people from all backgrounds and walks of life must sit down and have a real conversation.
By Jeffrey Tran, Business manager
Photo by Justin Jiang