LGBT Spotlight: New Rights


Nell Jaskowiak

Freshman Quinn Licata sits in front of the mission statement for West High's GSA.

More than 200,000 people converged in downtown St. Louis to celebrate one of the largest PrideFests in the country on June 26-28.  Two days before the festival, the United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages are legal, electrifying the parade and its participants.

American culture has not been tolerant of the LGBT community in the past. The FBI has stated that there were 1,279 hate crimes directed at the LGBT community in 2013, from sexual assault and rape to murder, and many people believe harmful misconceptions about the LGBT community.  As a result of this Supreme Court Ruling, the entire LGBT community is closer to equality under the eyes of the law.  

“‘Oh my god, I mean, it’s great for me, because I’m pansexual. I like guys and girls, currently I have a boyfriend, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t like girls or people in between the [gender] binary. I think that [America is] moving towards a better future now, that it’s accepting people that are different,” sophomore Charlie Woodruff said.   

The reactions to the decision were positive.

“I was excited, I was like ‘Yay, I can get married to the person I really love,’” senior Kira Nixon said. “I see that America is more accepting to the idea of same-sex couples being happy and married now. I feel like if you don’t like the idea of the same sex being together, then you don’t have to put yourself around them, I guess.”

Freshman Quinn Licata sees things from a different paradigm with having two mothers.

“At first I thought it was a joke,” Licata said about the Supreme Court ruling.  “I thought ‘America is way too homophobic for this to happen.’ I looked it up more and realized that it wasn’t. I was super happy that it was real. I could hardly believe it.”  

The Supreme Court decision impacted Licata’s family in multiple ways.

“Now that they’re officially married, we can save on health insurance more, visit each other in the hospital and do other things married couples [and kids] would normally do,” Licata said.  “Being able to do stuff like this definitely impacts my family for the better, and makes things a lot more family-like.”   

Not only those in the LGBT community were celebrating. Allies rejoiced alongside LGBT people.

“I have family members and friends that are gay, so I’m so happy that they’re legally allowed to be married and I’m so grateful that the Supreme Court ruled gay marriage legal. Before this, I thought that there was definitely a lot of problems with America, but this is one step towards change that I really did appreciate,” senior Tristan Johnson said.

Despite gay marriage being legal, homophobia is still present.

“For people who are gay or lesbian, if you know someone is homophobic, you have to have the mentality of ‘I don’t really care what you think, I’m going to live my life’,” Nixon said.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Parkway School District.