LGBTQ youth answers questions from community

The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer youth (LGBTQ) from Ridgefield High School had something to tell their community.

Through performance, they gave an audience of about 30 Ridgefielders a look into what their daily lives look like.

“Fortunately, there are adults in this room, and I think that’s a great sign,” said moderator Cathy Plourde.

“That means there are people in your community who have your back and who want to have this conversation,” she told the teens.

Plourde, who was invited to the Project Resilience event at the library March 9, has traveled around the country holding community forums where LGBTQ youth students perform from a collection of works written by youth called Out and Allied.

They also established a conversation with the older generation, and answered questions the audience had after the performance.

Parents wanted to know how they could help make their lives easier, and what their environment was like at the high school.

“Just your accepting presence is sometimes enough,” said a student.

The performers spoke about not going too far to be accepting, though, because that can have negative effects as well.

“Sometimes people get so excited they’re like, ‘I wanna throw a parade for my daughter,’ but that’s too much,” she said.

Students said the environment at the high school is tolerant.

“It’s pretty accepting,” a high schooler said.

“Some people think it’s funny to joke about saying, ‘You’re such a homosexual,’ but they’re really a minority. They mostly do it out of ignorance, and it’s a pretty supportive community.”

Parents also had some technical questions, wanting to know what the Q in LGBTQ stands for.

“Queer is actually a vital part of the LGBTQ,” said one student.

“It’s an umbrella term, but it can also be used as ‘questioning,’” said another.

“Sometimes people feel as if sexuality is very definitive: There’s gay and then there’s straight, and you’re only either 100% one way or the other. But there’s this whole other spectrum in between.”

Plourde emphasized the importance of allies.

When witnessing mistreatment or prejudice in the community, it’s everyone’s responsibility to take a stand.

“If you say nothing, you have said a lot,” Plourde said, “You have made yourself complicit.”