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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Counselors encourage students to talk over LGBT concerns

It is common for students to question their sexuality at some point or another. So who can they turn to with questions and concerns?
There is no commonly accepted step-by-step process on how to address this topic, the way there is for suicide or bullying concerns. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT) is a group that has relatively few assemblies dedicated to it, and its related topics are usually delicately tiptoed around.  Saratoga High used to have a LGBT club but it dwindled.
Under these circumstances, it is no surprise that some students feel unsure who they can talk to about concerns related to coming out to their friends and families. The question is, how do the counselors typically tackle the issue?
“We are really open, and we’d love to talk to students about this,” guidance counselor Frances Saiki said.
Saiki has been working at the school for seven years and has helped many students who come to her with questions or concerns regarding this sensitive topic.
Two main concerns Saiki has seen in the students she has talked to are worries about being accepted by their family and friends and concerns about being true to themselves. She has also noticed that many students are afraid to speak to their parents.
“Sometimes they feel that it’s like expectations have been placed on them, spoken or unspoken, with their family or their culture,” Saiki said.
The counselors are doing their best to make any possible LGBT students feel as comfortable and self-assured as possible in the road to discovering their identities. Counselor Monique Young has several ideas of how to interact with such students. 
“I would talk about it with them like any other issue or personal concern that any student is going through,” Young said. “[I would also] discuss how they’re feeling on campus or in general, any problems they’re having or any concerns they’re having specifically and talk them through it.”
While the guidance counselors are there to help, Young also encourages students and peers to do their best to ease fellow students’ transitions to their new identity. 
“Be there in any supportive way,” Young advises.
On a larger scale, Young encourages any students questioning their sexuality to confide in a trusted adult.
“If it’s something that’s on the student’s mind and affecting their daily life in a negative way,” Young said, “then they should definitely consider talking to another adult that they trust about how they’re feeling.” 
 
 
 
 
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