Waving flags in protest

April 14, 2022

Students+feel+silenced+now+that+they+are+no+longer+allowed+to+say+gay+in+schools+under+Florida+law.+Freshman+Riley+McCleary+covers+their+mouth+with+a+pride+flag+signifying+they+will+not+stay+silent+about+their+sexuality.

Theron Piccininni

Students feel silenced now that they are no longer allowed to say “gay” in schools under Florida law. Freshman Riley McCleary covers their mouth with a pride flag signifying they will not stay silent about their sexuality.

With over 250 anti-LGBTQ+ bills being proposed in 2022 alone, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are finding new ways to silently protest against these bills. Either it be creating art and writing, or wearing pride clothes, masks, and flags, students that feel strongly about these bills are ready to fight back for their rights. 

“Carrying a flag makes me feel like I have control over who I am and I can share that with the world. It gives me pride to be who I am without shame. Carrying around a flag means ‘I am here and I will be seen’ to me,” freshman Riley McCleary said.

Flags represent what a person stands for, when students at MSD carry around their flags they feel a sense of control over their life and they use this as a source to protest. These flags represent what someone identifies as and when carrying these flags it gives them a sense of pride and identity. 

In the past flags, bands, and more have been used to change history for the better. Like John and Mary Beth Tinker’s peace sign bands used to protest the Vietnam War. Their Supreme Court case, Tinker vs. Des Moines, is about two highschool siblings who decided to wear peace armbands to protest the war in Vietnam. The school they went to then proceeded to suspend them and they decided to fight back. The case then led to freedom of speech in schools for students. These small symbols on pieces of fabric represent a cause that can mean so much in a protest, silent or out loud.

These bills are affecting many students at MSD with the LGBTQ+ population representing about 19% of the school population. The bills banning books and other items displaying LGBTQ+ members in a positive light, students are sharing their opinion on the matter in many ways.

“The bill “SB 1142” in Oklahoma seeks to ban books in school libraries, this just makes me feel unseen because they’re trying to keep us from being represented in the media,” McCleary said. 

MSD students have strong opinions about these bills and are finding any way they can to show representation and to fight back against moving backwards in time.

“[The bills] are unnecessary, it’s no one’s business but the individuals as to how they identify themselves. I don’t understand how who they love affects other people,” sophomore Ninar Khalouf said.

By participating in a silent protest, like the carrying of flags, students are able to share and express who they are while fighting against the bills.

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