LHS walkout in support of LGBTQIA+ community


Ayden Gage

Students gather across the street from LHS to protest against the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” that has been added to the legislation in Florida.

Anna Anderson, Staff Writer

As seen across the U.S. in more recent times, there is a new onslaught of legislation negatively impacting the LGBTQIA+ community, more specifically known as House Bill 1557, or the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.” 

“The ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’ is legislation that targets kids, LGBTQIA+ teachers and staff in Florida and a hand full of other states. The way that this bill is worded bans any and all talk of LGBTQIA+ topics in a classroom, and gives parents the right to sue the school districts for bringing up such topics,” said Ayden Gage, LHS student and one of the LHS walkout organizers. 

On March 30, 2022, LHS students held a walkout during a passing period at around 2:20 p.m. Students walked in groups from the administration doors to just across the street to Arcadia Rd, proudly displaying various flags and signs showing their support to the LGBTQIA+ community.

“When the walkout happened, we had a mixed response from people,” said Gage. “I was informed about more than one student [at LHS] wishing for the protesters to be run over as well as other hateful messages. We did not really hear anything from most teachers, but teachers like Ms. Meyer helped to support us and give us advice as we worked on organizing this event. The same answers go for the drivers out on the street and other people that saw this online and on the news. We had a lot of people that drove by and supported us, but a handful that drove by and did things such as stick their tongue out at us.”

Gage, one of the two organizers of this event felt a strong passion for doing this walkout in solidarity with both the community and the members of her school, to reassure LGBTQIA+ members that they were not alone and that they have people rooting for them. 

“The thing that inspired me to help plan this walkout was watching the news and scrolling through social media, then seeing all sorts of anti-LGBTQIA+ laws being passed across the nation,” said Gage. “We then thought: what can we as individuals do to help fix this? Our way happened to be a walkout. We felt that the school was the best place to have our voices heard.”

The protest had a great turnout, with multiple local news sources stating over 50 people were present during the walkout.

“When we did an approximate count, we counted around 60 people at the protest. We are happy with the turnout and did not expect that many people to join us,” said Gage. “It was great to see how many people were genuinely happy during the rally. When we look back at the photos, I see true smiles and not fake ones like you see all the time.” 

With these various bills being spread across the country, Gage reiterates it is important to remember the core values of equity and equality for those in the community.

  “There are lots of ways to help the LGBTQIA+ community. Some of these can be to call your representatives and senators when the floors are open and urge them not to pass these laws,” said Gage. “There are many useful websites that can be used to find your district and representatives. Another way is to just accept that we are here and we will not be going anywhere.”