By Leonardo Morales, Castlemont High School student
Different genders are treated differently when they come out at Castlemont High School.
Queer youth at Castlemont feel that it’s more difficult for males to come out as part of the LGBTQ community because they are met with a constant masculine challenge.
According to some students, when females come out their stance is accepted, whereas when men come out, their orientation is questioned.
“When females come out,” said one student who didn’t want their name used, “they’re like, ‘oh shes bi or gay that’s wa’s up.’ But if a male comes out, they instead say ‘don’t think it’s right,’ and ‘what the hell, he gay!’”
According Jasmine Carillo, a 17-year-old Castlemont student, “There is a difference between how females and males are treated at Castlemont because when a female comes out it’s okay, there is no problem, but when a male comes out they [students] are like, ‘no, he hella gay,’ or ‘eww that’s disgusting.’”
Jose Alejandre, the operation coordinator for Youth Together on campus, said that he has no issue with the LGBTQ community because he grew up with two lesbian females so he was okay with it, and that in his opinion, it’s pretty normalized, so that if someone came out to him, he wouldn’t judge.
“As long as you’re not faking it, then I don’t see why you should not be able to co-exist with the students here on campus,” he said.
For Alejandre it depends on the individual if they’re scared or not on coming out to others.
According to the National Gay-Straight Alliance, 7.5 percent of California students reported being harassed on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation. This translates to over 200,000 middle school and high school students harassed every year in California.
Across California, there are more than 900 Gay-Straight Alliance clubs registered with the GSA network at public high schools. This is more than half of California public high schools.
There is no program at the moment for students coming out as being part of the LGBTQ community in Castlemont, but if you want to start one, contact the American Government and Economics teacher, Mr. Bremner.
Find links to the complete “Education Voices: Youth seek identity” series HERE.
(Mr. Morales reported and wrote this story while participating in the Oakland Local Education Voices program in collaboration with Castlemont High School and Youth Uprising. The program was funded by the California Endowment. Find links to the full series HERE. Ed Voices instructors Shaka Redmond of Youth Uprising and Irene Florez, Barbara Grady and Jon Leckie of Oakland Local congratulate Mr. Morales for his work.)