A Letter To Our Readers Regarding Homophobia

The Express staff  is aware of the stigma and hateful language that has been used against people of the LGBTQ+ community and has been prevalent recently, and, as journalists who support the LGBTQ+ community, felt the need to respond. 

Normal. That’s a word that has been used in comparison to people of the LGBTQ+ community when writing to our staff, and while we appreciate readers writing with feedback and voicing their opinions, the staff at The Express will never empathize with people advocating for the marginalization of the LGBTQ+ community.

People who are gay are “normal” too.  People who are transgender are “normal” too. People who are Black and Brown and Queer or straight are “normal” too. Subjects covered in that story are normal and were doing something above and beyond, and the archaic idea of normality voiced in the comment does not apply in the twenty-first century. 

For centuries people who haven’t looked like the cisgender straight white man have been cast aside and seen as less than, and media coverage often perpetuated that. The Express will never cast away a story that is worthy of coverage simply because of the subject’s sexual orientation, and we will continue to report on news we deem is newsworthy. 

To advocate for denying coverage of LGBTQ+ students is to set society back centuries and display an unsettling degree of regression and intolerance. High school is a time for discovering one’s identity, and publicizing people who are coming into their own as human beings can inspire our readers. 

The Express will never cast away a story that is worthy of coverage simply because of the subject’s sexual orientation, and we will continue to report on news we deem is newsworthy,

Some cisgender, straight white men and women may not be accustomed to the idea of a safe space, because their privilege ensures that their rights and identity are protected and welcomed everywhere. This does not apply to LGBTQ+ people nor the BIPOC community. A safe space is what we have created at The Express, and that will not be taken away from them. Kids who may feel excluded because of their identity or unsure of their identity deserve to be heard and feel safe, and as students of our school, it is our responsibility as journalists to make sure all voices are heard.

The word normal, and the rhetoric of the nuclear family setting cannot be taken as face value, and we believe them to be severely harmful to the progression of our society and the positive, accepting nature of our publication because it uses archaic and harmful rhetoric. The word “queer” originated as an insult towards the LGBTQ community and it has now been reclaimed by those in the community but certainly not forgotten, it now is also used as an adjective for weird or strange: society put strange and gay under the same definition. Kids bullied for years, people sent away to conversion therapy, and teenagers kicked out of their childhood homes based on something that isn’t controllable has all severely impacted the community. Before then, people who were LGBTQ just ignored it because the world wasn’t ready. LGBTQ youth are considered lucky if they have accepting parents because for so long it’s been a given that they wouldn’t be. The nuclear family is a harmful rhetoric that ignores families who’ve been created in different ways. Love makes family, ask those who’ve been kicked out of theirs and forced to pick up the pieces by choosing a new family made up with friends because their blood wouldn’t have them. Divorce, adoption, and even same sex couples disrupt the idealistic nuclear family from the 1950’s, but why is that a problem if they are happy? Why does someone else’s happiness affect your life? 

The LGBTQ community has faced discrimination for years, and has only seen real progress in the last decade. Despite many thinking LGBTQ discrimination ended with the passing of marriage equality it hasn’t. There is no federal protection against discrimination in housing and public accomodations(21 states have their own legislation surrounding it). Healthcare discrimination is completely legal in 37 states, with only 13 having protections. Employment protection was approved by the Supreme Court last summer, that is the sole national protection for LGBTQ+ people.

 As for LGBTQ+ youth, conversion therapy, the practice of attempting to change one’s sexual orientation or gender identity through psychological, physical and spiritual interventions, something that has been continually discredited, is legal in 30 states. About 20,000 youth go through this process which is torture by a licensed professional, while another 57,000 go through it by a religious or spiritual adviser. 39% of youth have considered suicide, and that number doubles for those who are in or have experienced conversion therapy. 2 in 3 LGBTQ+ youth reported someone has tried to change them, and 71% report having experienced discrimination. Additionally, 58% of transgender and nonbinary people report being discouraged from using the bathroom that correlates to their identity. 350 transgender people were killed in 2020, the highest figure yet. 

These are just a few of the many issues the LGBTQ+ community faces, and these ideals are only expanded by those who perpetuate the idea that those in the community are not “normal”. No one is born hating LGBTQ+ people, they grow to hate and murder and torture the community because they are told that being LGBTQ+ is bad, unnatural, not normal and deserving of this treatment. 

No one is born hating LGBTQ+ people, they grow to hate and murder and torture the community because they are told that being LGBTQ+ is bad, unnatural, not normal and deserving of this treatment.

We know that some of our readers aren’t a proponent of us bringing up social justice causes in our articles, but frankly it would be neglecting our duty as journalists if we didn’t, so we will do it here as well.

Social justice issues are important and The Express staff covers them because our basic sense of humanity compels us to cover these issues and stand in solidarity with BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities who have been marginalized throughout history. While this coverage might not appeal to the blindness that being white affords some people, there are undeniable issues that are going on in our world that people not only care about but need to be made aware of. We are not polluting young minds: we are sharing a story and raising awareness. It astonishes us that some people think the minds of our readers are so malleable that anything we report or say is taken as good as Gospel, and we want to assure everyone that our reporting is done to raise awareness, and not impose propaganda on readers.    

So The Express will continue to publish stories about the LGBTQ community- not solely because of newsworthiness but because we recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion. If you disagree with that, no need to read our stories because we will not ignore a whole community because of a minority of homophobic people, just to make you comfortable. Our job is not to tailor our journalism to your personal comfort level, and certainly not to your ignorance. It is to write about what is newsworthy, of which social justice causes are. We recognize free speech and you are more than welcome to submit editorials, assuming you are not using that opportunity to discriminate and spread hateful, outdated and harmful viewpoints. While we have many different writers, they tend to be liberal, so we encourage conservatives to submit articles for publication.

Please do not take this as an attack on individual free speech rights, but DO NOT impose hateful ideals on the readers of OUR COMMUNITY.