An ally is not just a straight person defending someone in the LGBTQI community. An ally is a person, gay, straight, trans, asexual, pansexual or bisexual, who supports another person in our high school. An ally is a student committed to lifting others up and helping others person feel valued and respected. Being an ally does not necessarily mean taking extreme measures for social change, it means smiling at someone when you pass them in the hallway, lending a hand or a kind word.
Each year, Waynflete’s Gay, Straight, Transgender, Alliance (GSTA), which is the oldest high school group of its kind in the state, sponsors Ally Week. This year, the week took on some new colors as we decided to present this event in a different light than in years past. Rather than focusing on the rare faults of our Upper School community, we decided to take a week to appreciate how amazing Waynflete already is.
We invited two guest speakers for Ally Week, a Waynflete father of two juniors, and Lucas O’Neil, an alumnus from 2008. Lucas’s speech focused on identity in a humorous and casual manner. He spoke of his time in the Waynflete Upper School and the process of finding his own identity, as a straight, white, male member of the community. You can watch a video of his talk below.
The father’s speech focused on the experience of raising his transgender daughter. His speech was raw and accessible for everyone in the audience. He spoke of the discrimination that his daughter faced earlier in her life and the battle his family continues to fight for her right to be herself. I had already seen him speak before, and he had me once again covered in goosebumps, inspired to work harder for equality and thankful for the amazing community of which I am a part. In the theme of appreciation for this year’s Ally Week, he spoke of how Waynflete has been a critically important supportive community for him and his family. It is moments like this that make me take a step back and realize how wonderful Waynflete School is, and that all of our hard work towards creating a safe and accepting community has truly paid off!
We thank both speakers for their unforgettable words of wisdom. Thank you to the students, parents, faculty and staff who make Waynflete School the only place in the world that I would want to spend my teenage years. There are not words to describe how touched I am, as well as the rest of the GSTA, by the open minds and hearts of each person in the this community.