LGBTQ+ club posters quickly torn down, spreading fear 


Sapna Bhatt

LGBTQ+ club posters have largely been disrupted across campus, starting in September of 2022.

Abby Lincks, Editor

The LGBTQ+ club has recently been met with unexpected circumstances when many of their club posters were torn down across campus, soon after their posting.

Within two hours, at least 12 were down. By the second day, all except two remained. A new round of posters were put up and officers posted an Instagram video sharing their second attempt at advertising the club amidst recent events, gaining over 800 likes and encouraging comments. When club treasurer Vixx Wellborn posted laminated editions, they were unexpectedly met with a “scary” encounter.

“On the way returning, I had noticed that in the exact order I put them up, people had torn them down,” Wellborn said. “It was in the exact order. We believe someone was following me the entire time I was putting them up.” 

As a result, LGBTQ+ club has a new “no swim alone” policy, restricting officers from advertising their club through posters, alone. Newfound concern for member safety has heightened after Wellborn found a crumpled up poster on the floor directly out of English teacher, Russell’s room. A club meeting had just taken place, so this behavior has led members to believe it was presented as a possible threat.

“We were just wanting to ensure that our club remains as a safe space for those who identify as LGBTQ+ because it’s important to have those safe spaces,” president Sapna Bhatt said. “We feel it’s being violated currently because of all of this really hateful stuff that’s going on.”

Before the posters, some students began crashing the club by making fun of officer presentations, asking inappropriate questions regarding members identity and/or sexuality and secretly filming Snapchat videos. 

“I’ll calm people down by raising my arms in the air,” Wellborn said. “I know there’s been videos of me raising my arms in the air and stuff like that. I believe they [school administrators] dealt with those kids though, because they were wrongly videoing people without permission.”

Due to recent online behavior, officers have a “no phone” policy, stating members cannot use phones during club meetings without officer permission. And, online activity could result in a student being outed without permission. 

“If Texas decides to make it illegal to talk about being queer in schools, that immediately just disbans our club,” Wellborn said. “So many of our people are just people who don’t get the chance to be queer in their homes because in the end, it’s like you’re getting to be around people similar to you.”

During meetings, the club discusses queer history, current events and prominent figures in their community. Though the club is different from a GSA (gay-straight alliance), straight and cisgender students are welcome to attend meetings. 

“I think it’s like one in four trans kids have suicidal thoughts and things like that,” Wellborn said. “So, our hope is to teach so that we can preserve our history so that we know where we come from and so we continue that legacy and help people.”

According to Wellborn, the school administration, specifically the assistant principals, are responding positively to the club’s complaints. Assistant principals let officers spread posters across campus during PIT sweep times when other students were not in the hallways after receiving feedback from club sponsor, Ms. Patteson. 

“There’s some areas where I wish there was more we could do,” Wellborn said. “But, I completely understand that they have limits to their power.”

According to Bhatt, school administrations can better support queer youth by encouraging GSA’s to continue growing and forming better communities on campus. In addition, they can have more of an open mind when it comes to ideas like banning the use of changed pronouns. 

“The very least they can do is to allow their students to explore themselves, not restrict these students,” Bhatt said. “I believe the best way they can help at the very, very, very minimum is to allow their students to be themselves.”

Though many teachers have “safe space” posters in their classrooms, the LGBTQ+ club posters are to represent the current, queer youth who exist as students on campus everyday. 

“This club is a safe space where we can be ourselves,” vice president Rainbow Crawford said. “We’re trying to show we’re here, we exist and we’re here to give you that space.”

According to Bhatt, the club is a place where she can truly be her authentic self. And, the process of teacher’s making an effort to keep up with students about their preferred name and pronoun(s) can help more students feel comfortable in the classroom setting. 

“How we are referred to, how we are thought of, that is a part of who we are,” Wellborn said. “In the end, we are not just our own selves in the minds of our own, we are the minds of others as well. And, being thought of as he/they feels so nice.”

Because students cannot change the name presented on school rosters, many must separately inform teachers of their preferences.

“You know how you wear your left shoe on your left foot and your right shoe on your right foot,” treasurer Jenna Miller said. “That’s how it’s supposed to be. But, imagine you’re born and people all around you are expecting you to wear your right shoe on your left foot and your left shoe on your right foot. You can function that way. It works. It gets the job done, sure. But, it’s very uncomfortable.”

All officers emphasize the importance of community on campus through maintaining relationships with supportive people in their lives, most of which have been found with each other. 

“Even though you may not agree with the principles of our club, it’s important that other people who wish to be a part of the club see that we’re able to be ourselves within the Vandegrift school campus,” Bhatt said.