For people who identify as queer and transgender, Northglenn is an accepting place to be, said five panelists at a city-run event for Pride Month. “There is always more work that needs to be done, …
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For people who identify as queer and transgender, Northglenn is an accepting place to be, said five panelists at a city-run event for Pride Month.
“There is always more work that needs to be done, but Northglenn is an example for all other cities,” said panelist Chase Janis. The event’s four other panelists, who included Northglenn High School students and a Northglenn High teacher, echoed Janis.
The panelists said the city’s Pride Month celebrations, which involved the June 16 panel and a yard sign giveaway, as well as an upcoming Pride Night, are examples of Northglenn’s desire to help members of the LGBTQ community feel more welcome. The panelists stipulated, however, that Pride Month events pale in comparison to the overall acceptance they feel in their social networks.
The panel also included two Northglenn High grads who did not publicly disclose their names because they are minors.
One panelist, a minor who just completed their senior year at Northglenn High and who identifies as transgender non-binary and bi-sexual, said throughout high school, they started using “they/them” pronouns instead of “she/her.” But they didn’t formally come out until senior year, which they did on a Zoom class amongst students and a teacher. The response was celebratory, they said.
“I always felt most comfortable whenever I went to high school. Because it’s where my close friends were and they were very accepting of me,” said the student.
The June 16 panel also included Janis, a Northglenn resident who is a registered member of the Oglala Lakota Nation and who identifies as gender non-binary and queer, Deja Moore, a Thornton resident and who identifies as an Afro-Hispanic-transgender woman of color, and Victoria Bull, a social studies teacher at Northglenn High and who identifies as queer.
The second Northglenn grad who declined to be identified came out at Northglenn High. He is a recent Northglenn High grad who identifies as a bisexual transgender man
During high school, he started using his name and preferred “he/him” pronouns. But it wasn’t a walk in the park. Fellow students and teachers would still misgender him because he has longer hair and a less deep voice.
Even today, he said, “it’s still a bit scary for me to be completely out.” However, he said that teachers at Northglenn High, especially Bull, made a big difference in his life. “In my school, there were a bunch of teachers that were willing to be accepting,” he said.
Riffing off the students’ stories, Bull said she really tries hard to make all students feel accepted. Bull and her wife, also a teacher at Northglenn High, are the sponsors of the school’s gender and sexuality alliance (GSA).
Bull also hangs flags in her classroom to celebrate the LGBTQ community and allows for open dialogue about gender and sexuality in the classroom.
“I want them (students) to see that there’s somebody there that can be there with them, support them, take them through whatever journey they have to go through,” Bull said.
Bull also had an impact on Moore, who graduated from Northglenn High a little under a decade ago. Moore said she hadn’t come out as gay or transgender when she started high school. Moore came out as gay during high school, partly because she saw Bull model confidence and openness about her sexuality. It wasn’t until last year when Moore then came out as transgender.
Commenting on coming out as transgender recently, Moore said, “‘I was like it’s too late for me.’ But, no it’s not. You can come out at any time.”
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