Respecting differences is important

Francesca Messerschmidt, Staff Writer

Chances are most people have experienced bullying or unfair treatment at some point due to being different. It could be anything, but surely, it didn’t feel very nice. 

Recently in Harrisburg, members of the LGBT community have had to face being treated differently than everybody else. A local LGBT-based youth group, Tri-State Alliance (TSA), recently advertised their annual Halloween Pride Prom, a dance intended to celebrate and accept LGBT youth in Harrisburg. Signs were placed around town to give information about the dance to those who were interested. Unfortunately, because of this, many people have begun to show their true colors. 

Harrisburg is not the exception to the rule. According to a 2019 CDC study, 32% of students identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual felt bullied on school property and 13% of those students avoid going to school due to feeling unsafe.

 Everybody is entitled to their own opinions and is entitled to express their opinions in ways they deem fit, however, this should not be through destroying people’s belongings and making people feel unwelcome.

With regard to just this one event, there have been multiple occasions where signs have been pulled out of the ground, stolen, and destroyed. Students have also voiced their anti-LGBT opinions on social media such as one anonymous Snapchat post that read “Might have an anti-gay bonfire.”

While there has been a lot of backlash, many people also showed their support for the cause and the community. People agreed to place signs in their yards in support, advertising the prom. I believe that if members of our community continue to show support for the LGBT community, students belonging to the community will begin to feel more safe and more comfortable.

The Pride Prom has ended, but the questions and the emotional backlash remain. What’s next? Will students who are different continue to face feeling like outsiders and feeling unsafe? Or will we make the choice to do better in accepting others’ differences and loving everyone regardless of our beliefs? The choice lies in the hands of each individual.