LGBTQ+ Safe havens

Where everyone can go to feel safe when questioning gender and sexuality.

Eric Jacobs, News Reporter

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The LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning, +) community has been a large topic in recent debates and events. This is all widely known information, but where can you get help if you are LGBTQ+?

The answer is pretty simple. Most public school have a GSA (gay/straight or gender sexuality alliance). A GSA is a safe club where you and your peers can talk about recent LGBTQ+ issues and your own sexuality and identity.

Locally, there is also a place called Indiana Youth Group (IYG) where you can go to talk about LGBTQ+ issues, hang out with friends, and have a free meal. IYG is a place where all sorts of people from different backgrounds go to be themselves without others to judge them. Lane Banister, the Education Program Coordinator at IYG, and Emanuel Harper, Herron High School’s very own GSA Coordinator, answered a few questions about their involvement with the LGBTQ+ community.

Lane Banister, IYG Education Program Coordinator

  1. When was your facility started? 1997
  1. Who do you serve? Youth age 12-20
  1. How can young kids be raised and accept the LGBT+ community as natural?

Good media representation. LGBTQ+ characters in children’s television shows. No gender specific toys!

  1.    Where do you see the LGBTQ + in 25 years?

I think there will be Transgender health clinics and health care. There won’t be any more discrimination, and being LGBTQ+ will pretty much be normalized.

  1. What is your facility’s mission?

IYG creates a safe place, provides wellness programming, and educates LGBTQ+ youth and the community.

  1.  How can youth get help when questioning their sexuality or identity?

You can always come down to IYG and meet other youth! You can also go online. Therapy can also help.

  1.      How can closeted LGBTQ+ youth get help from your facility?

Well, we serve straight allies too. You can also message us on our Facebook page.

  1. What activities does your organization have planned in the next 90 days?

Normal programs and clubs (ex. deconstructing gender, cooking, queer youth of color, art reach, and much more), our youth summit, and the Halloween Rave.

  1.    Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?

Everyone is welcome to come here, We are super queer! Love ya!

Emanuel Harper, HHS GSA Moderator

  1.  When was your program started?

My involvement began in 2011 when I became a faculty member at Herron High School.

  1.  Who do you serve?

We serve the entire student body with an emphasis on LGBTQ+ students.

  1.  How can young kids be raised and accept the LGBTQ+ community as natural?

With each generation of Americans, we become less blind to those who are outside of the mainstream consciousness. Because times can blind us to certain truths, as Justice Kennedy said in his Lawrence v. Texas opinion, our vision for the Gender and Sexuality Alliance is to create a space where students of all genders and sexualities can talk openly and respectfully about their experiences and provide mutual support as they become young adults. This helps foster a sense of “normalcy” for society.

  1.  Where do you see the LGBTQ+ Community in 25 years?

We have come far in the last 25 years with regards to LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance. Many of the laws America once deemed “necessary and proper” have been eliminated over the past 25 years. Examples include it being illegal for an LGBTQ+ individual to enter into private consensual relationship with another adult or being denied entry into the United States with an HIV+ status. I suspect the next 25 years will see many more important rights conferred to LGBTQ+ Americans that will help normalize our status in society.

  1.  What is your mission?

Our mission is to spread awareness of LGBTQ+ issues by educating and providing a safe space through support and community action

  1.  How can youth get help when questioning their sexuality or identity?

Students can turn to any adult at Herron High School they have a relationship with to talk about their sexuality or identity. We also have a network of counselors and advisors in the Guidance Department who are a great resource for students. Additionally, students can turn to trusted peers or anyone in Gender and Sexuality Alliance.

  1.  How can closeted LGBTQ+ youth get help from your facility?

Coming as an ally can be an important step in experiencing what a safe and open environment is for students who also are closeted or question their sexuality. We also suggest that these students talk with a member of the Guidance Department or contact me to have a more sustained ongoing conversation.

  1.  What activities does your organization have planned in the next 90 days?

We plan on having a Jeans Day to raise money for trips to LGBTQ+ conferences at IUPUI and other places. We also will have LGBTQ+ focused events on campus during LGBTQ+ History month throughout the school.

  1.  Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?

We encourage all students to come visit Gender & Sexuality Alliance club to engage in discussion, chat with friends, or simply be in a space that accepts them for who they are. Please speak to any Gender & Sexuality Alliance member or me to find out how you can be a part of this space.

IYG has youth from all sort of schools within the state, while Herron’s GSA has kids from Herron. Both organizations are important to our local LGBTQ+ community and are welcoming to all. You are accepted as you are!

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6 Responses to “LGBTQ+ Safe havens”

  1. Alan on September 16th, 2016 1:44 pm

    Great story. I will be sure to look into these.


  2. Dominic Lowery on September 16th, 2016 1:45 pm



  3. kathy on September 17th, 2016 5:15 pm

    Very informative. More people need to be open minded and accepting. Great article.


  4. Emma on September 22nd, 2016 2:00 pm

    Its really awesome to see how much more aware people are becoming of the LGBT community!


  5. Enrique Arnold on September 22nd, 2016 2:02 pm

    Nice job! This’ll hopefully help develop the LGBTQ+.


  6. Cameiron on September 22nd, 2016 2:03 pm

    That was pretty neat


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LGBTQ+ Safe havens