teryn rios

Vividly and Vibrantly Proud

In this current moment, LGBTQ students are facing increasingly escalating legal, social, and even physical attacks from extreme political actors. We, as education advocates, must use our voices and platforms to uplift and center the voices and stories of LGBTQ students and young people. In 2022, we sat down with 2022 Stand for Children Oregon Beat the Odds Scholarship winner and then high school senior Teryn to discuss what pride means to them. We want to revisit their story as we continue to work to support the safety and inclusion of every student.

Q: Do you feel like LGBT+ students are celebrated in your school? 

Actually yes!! At my school we had a huge Pride celebration! my school’s GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) put it on, they included the middle schools and even had a LGBT staff/ community member panel to ask questions and interact with beforehand. The celebration was held on the football field, and as you walked under this giant rainbow inflatable archway, you got a name tag to put your name and pronouns on. There was a clothing exchange, local artists showcasing and selling their work, drag queens getting ready and preforming, community resources, food trucks, you name it! It was such an incredible event, and it was all put on by the lovely advisors of our GSA.

Q: What is a message you think parents, teachers, and other adults need to hear from LGBT students?

We want you to listen without judgement, and we don’t want your critique. You may have misconceptions from something you learned in your past, but times are changing, and I please ask you to consider change as good, we are growing human beings, and we just want love and acceptance the same as any other human does. 

Q: What is a message you would share with a young LGBT student who is just coming into their identity?

  1. Keep growing with yourself and your brain, not against it. 
  2. Trust your instinct.
  4. Gender is a spectrum; you can shift and change how you feel within your own identity! 
  5. Remember that you are not alone in this journey & there are so many queer kids on this earth having a journey together. Also not to mention every single badass queer person that has walked before us!
  6. You do not have to come out when you’re not ready! Coming out is a unique experience for everyone, no rush. Your experience and life are at your own pace.  

Whether its fighting for freedom from physical and emotional harm, or ensuring every child feels welcomed and included in the classroom, student safety is the core of our mission at Stand for Children. Stay informed and find ways to get involved with our work supporting student safety in and out of the classroom by joining us, here.