LGBTQA+ at Kalani

Lucy Fagan, Student Life

Kalani High School has over 150 students in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Asexual (LGBTQA+) community according to the Hawaii Sexual and Gender Minority Health Report of 2018. The study states 1 in 10 students report either being LGB or questioning and 3 percent of Hawaii’s public school students report being transgender.

Kalani’s LGBTQA+ students stress the importance of having a safe school and accepting peers. And, according to students who identify as part of the LGBTQA+ community, Kalani is friendly and safe. 

I would say that yes, I generally do feel safe and comfortable at Kalani,” Elizabeth Bennet* a freshman who identifies as a part of the community shares.

Bennet said she hears comments such as “That’s so gay!” and “No Homo!” being yelled across Kalani’s halls between groups of friends all too often. She explains that even while many don’t mean them as insults, they are still harmful because they imply that there is something wrong with being gay. 

“As with any large group of people, not everyone at Kalani is accepting, which is alright,” she said. “With any large group of teenagers, there will be judgment and thoughtless comments, which most people can take with a grain of salt and move on.”

When Bennet calls people out on their derogatory comments, she shares that half the time she receives an apology but often students still use the phrases because they don’t understand how hurtful they are. 

“I think that people don’t call others out because it’s such a small thing,” Bennet shares. “Maybe they are afraid they are overreacting or that the offending party will think they are overreacting.”

Accepting yourself and coming out to others can be difficult, especially when people are uneducated about the community. Lauren Vierra, a sophomore and proud bisexual, believes it is those who have the courage to call people out and challenge the actions of others that make Kalani a safe environment. 

“I’m one of the few people very open and outspoken about it,” Vierra shares. “If someone judges me or throws some shady look, I’ll call them on it if it bothers me. I’m not an easy target and maybe it intimidates people from any sort of action.”