During LEAD on April 8th, senior Sage Hardiman lead a walkout protest on hundred of homophobic laws that have been enacted across the country by lawmakers in the past year.

“During LEAD on April 8th, I led a walkout to protest the hundreds of homophobic bills lawmakers have been introducing and passing this year. Some examples of these include Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill (AKA the “Don’t Say Gay” bill), Greg Abbott’s letter that seeks to tear apart families of transgender kids, and Utah’s H.B. 11, which attacks the four transgender student-athletes in their state.” said Hardiman.

 

Notably, there has been Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, colloquially named the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and similar bills that have subsequently been proposed or passed across the country. 

“My inspiration for this protest was watching a TikTok video that somebody reposted on their Instagram story. The video, by @aidyn_speaks, called for a nationwide walkout on April 1st, and students from nearly 200 schools applied to participate.”

 

Hardiman was inspired by a TikTok video they saw that was reposted to Instagram calling for a nationwide walkout on April 1st. Hardiman was ultimately advised to move the walkout to April 8th so people wouldn’t mistake it as an April Fool’s Joke. 

“Planning it was hectic because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had never been to a protest before and also had never planned any large-scale event like this. My friends advised that I move it back to April 8th so that people wouldn’t think it was an April Fools joke; this also gave me an extra week to plan.”

 

“I made small fliers that I passed out to people—I was told that I wasn’t allowed to hang up protest posters, but I could hand out fliers—made signs for people to hold during it, and wrote and recited a sonnet titled “Endure, My Love, Endure” (that will appear in fragments).”

 

“I don’t know if the protests, both at Avonworth and beyond, accomplished anything meaningful in terms of swaying lawmakers. However, somebody did come out to me as gay later that day, so if I achieved anything with this event, it was giving that person a safe place.”

One Reply to “GSA Walk Out”

  1. As an Avonworth alum and an out and proud trans man, a former Avonnews writer, a member of the DEI committee, and as the current reigning Mr. Pennsylvania Trans Pride (Mr. PA Trans Pride). I am proud of the Avonworth GSA for the walk out. When I was a student at Avonworth we had no GSA club and so many of us alums were closeted. I remember with my graduation project doing it about my experience with Dreams of Hope which is an LGBTQIA+ and allies youth arts organization founded in 2003 by Susan Haugh and the only LGBTQIA+ youth arts organization in Western Pennsylvania. While people were impressed there was still resistance by some community members who thought it was “inappropriate.” In Pennsylvania the Education Commitee in General Assembly passed the bill to ban Transgender students from participating in sports that line up with their gender identity, and sadly it recently passed in House here in PA. The Pennsylvania Youth Congress had held a Youth Lobby Day back in April to try to stop the bill and held a press conference after. They are still fighting for LGBTQIA+ Youth all throughout the Commonwealth. Please continue the great work, and please know that there are Avonworth Alums who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community like myself who will continue to advocate to protect LGBTQIA+ youth in schools, and defend you.

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