Area teens meet for library's first LGBT-friendly gathering - Olean Times Herald


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OLEAN — One teenager advised the group gathered at Olean Public Library on Wednesday that he is often harassed at highschool because he's gay, and sees other homosexual students beat up for the same cause.

The boy, along with a number of dozen other kids, gathered at the library for the inaugural Rainbow Alliance gathering in help of lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youngsters.

Jennifer Stickles, head of adult and youth packages on the library at 134 N. Second St., stated individuals at a teen advisory meeting in January needed a program that would offer help to LGBT youth locally.

“They needed a chance to return in here, hang around and speak about issues they have been having in a protected place where they knew there can be no judgement,” Stickles stated.

The library employees have been unsure of the suggestions they might obtain from the group relating to this system, she stated. They have been pleasantly stunned, nevertheless, with the quantity of response they acquired from teenagers who deliberate to attend due to the shortage of LGBT packages at their faculties.

Teens who filed into the assembly within the artwork gallery giggled and joked with each other at tables arrange with bowls of candy and Rainbow Alliance Satisfaction leaflets. A nearby table contained LGBT books with titles corresponding to “This E-book is Homosexual,” “The Shared Coronary heart” and “Broad Awake.” A corner desk contained a scorching chocolate set-up. A couple of at the meeting stated they have been straight-identifying allies and associates of LGBT teens. Most at the assembly stated they attended Olean Excessive Faculty.

After the teenagers had settled down, Stickles advised them intolerance was not acceptable on the gatherings. Later, after providing info on LGBT assets in the area, Stickles asked if there have been subjects the teenagers want to talk about.

“Sure — popping out,” stated a teen in the group. “It’s a sophisticated story.”

A boy then proceeded to tell the group his mother and father came upon he was homosexual from the internet.

“We had an extended, long conversation about it,” he stated with emphasis, bringing amusing from his peers. The boy stated some in his household accept him, while others do not.

A woman stated when she got here out to her mother and father during a automotive experience, her father pulled the car over and obtained in the back seat together with her.

“My dad stated, ‘I will love you it doesn't matter what,’ and it made me actually uncomfortable,” the woman recounted.

A boy stated he has transgender associates he sometimes speaks to using the pronoun or identify of their start gender. The occasional slip-ups hassle him and the transgender individual.

Stickles assured the teenagers that in the event that they knew the transgender pal before their transition, it is going to take time for everyone to get used to the person’s new gender.

When Stickles asked the group how their high school was treating the LGBT challenge, several replied “horrible.”

“Other youngsters categorize us as misfits,” one woman explained. A boy then spoke of abuse he and others who determine as gay allegedly endure in highschool at the hands of other college students.

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“At high school, I’ve been pushed like 20 occasions into my locker,” the boy stated.

Outdoors the assembly room, a mom sat and waited as her daughter attended the meeting. The lady stated they drove from Allegany County so her daughter might meet together with her friends.

The lady stated her daughter was nervous at first, but appeared to meld in with the group as the meeting went on.

Stickles stated future meetings might embrace the viewing of documentaries relating to gay and lesbian history, however can be open to subjects chosen by the teenagers.

“They will simply stop in, they don’t should register they usually don’t have to return to each meeting,” she stated.

Gatherings will probably be held at 3:45 p.m. the first and third Wednesday of every month, and college students from high faculties within the Twin Tier region are welcome to attend.

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at