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Ensuring inclusion for all

Pierce Freebairn, Business Manager

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Once again the the holiday season has come. It is that time of the year to bond with families and friends, learn to more about each other again, forget old arguments and join together under the same roof to celebrate a month of abundance and giving. Some individuals, regardless of what makes them unique, benefit from unconditional love and support from their families and communities; unfortunately, due to sexual orientation or gender identity, many individuals feel isolated around the holidays as a result of being rejected or misunderstood by the family that should love and support them the most.

Fortunately, many parents are committed to supporting their children in all circumstances. For parents who wish to be there for a child but don’t necessarily know how to provide the appropriate support, there are community resources that provide education. A good place to start is PFlag, an organization with a local Laguna Beach chapter that provides information and support for LGBTQ individuals and their families (http://www.lbpflag.org/ and https://pflag.org/ ).

Additionally, if you would like a basic understanding of the LGBTQ terms, visit (https://www.lbusd.org/page.cfm?p=1065 ), scroll down to the LGBTQ tab and click to get information you may need.

Being isolated from family because of sexuality has effects on teens who feel alone or uncertain about how others will respond to their orientation. If your friend is part of the LGBTQ community and is having a hard time, the best thing you can offer is your support and understanding without being intrusive and making your friend uncomfortable.

“If you’re worried about a friend, take them to a trusted adult— a counselor, teacher, administrator, student support specialist, etc.,” said LBHS Student Support Specialist Alex Aronson.  

One interpretation of the “A,” recently added to LGBTQ in some contexts, is “Ally.”  Now, straight individuals can proudly identify as being part of the LGBTQA community in their alliance with LGBTQ individuals.  

“For people who want to be allies, resources are available through PFlag or the LGBT center in Santa Anna, but you can always make connections by reaching out by saying words of kindness and being a safe person to turn to,” said history teacher and No Place for Hate leader Kristin Cowles.

The Laguna Beach community has worked hard to create a safe space for everyone, with resources to support those in need. The LGBT Center OC provides empowering courses and mental health testing ( https://www.lgbtcenteroc.org/ ). Furthermore, there are churches in Laguna Beach that encourage all in the community to attend, like the Neighborhood Congregational Church and the St. Francis By-The-Sea Church.

It’s a good time of year to remember that we are all unique in our own ways and that our differences, when celebrated, can strengthen our community in ways that our common attributes cannot.  

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Ensuring inclusion for all