18-year-old High School Student Takes A Stand For Equality

Morgan, an 18-year-old, straight female high school student from the small town of Sundown Texas, sent her inspirational personal story of taking a stand for equality to the Facebook page Gay Marriage USA which was shared to their over 350,000 followers.

The Facebook post reads:

A straight female high-school student from a small town in Texas sent me this personal story. It’s inspirational on many levels & gave me goose bumps! Please read & share!

My name is Morgan and I am an 18-year-old, straight senior at Sundown High School in Sundown, TEXAS. I follow your page daily and something recently happened in my life regarding LGBT rights and Marriage Equality which I would really like for you to share.

On Tuesday of this week we were taking pictures for the school yearbook’s “Senior Who’s Who?” page. One of the two superlatives that I earned was “Most Political.” For the picture, I had the idea of holding a political magazine to make it look like me and the boy were having a political discussion. For the picture, I chose a copy of TIME magazine that had a photograph of two girls kissing on the cover. The student taking the picture refused to take the photo because of the cover of the magazine I had chosen and the other boy refused to be in the photo with me. The photographer and I got into a heated argument about the matter and when he still refused, I went to my principal. My principal told me that gay rights was not a topic that he wanted to be discussed at the school and said that I had to either use a different magazine or not use a magazine at all.

I decided that it was not in my best interest to use either of those options, but rather to stand up for my right to use the copy of TIME magazine that I had chosen. After school I couldn’t get any of this off of my mind, and I realized that the issue was no longer about the magazine and photo but about the discrimination my school was holding against the LGBT community and the infringement of basic constitutional rights. The next morning when I got to school I spent over an hour decorating my locker in protest of the discrimination I was facing. However, not even an hour after I had finished the decoration on my locker, the principal tore it down and when I protested that in an argument with him, he claimed that it was “distracting.” He called my mother, hoping to get me in trouble, but instead my mom took off of her day of work and arrived at the school after a heated phone call with the principal.

My mom and I quickly argued our case, giving reasons why the treatment I was receiving wasn’t fair and calling him out for discriminating against me and the LGBT community. After all of this argument he still wouldn’t budge so my mom and I threatened to call a gay rights organization so that everybody could learn about the discrimination being practiced at my high school. As the threat of media attention loomed over his school, he decided that he would allow me to use the magazine in the photograph for the yearbook, and though I feel really accomplished, I don’t want my story to stop there. I want to get the word out about this story and hopefully add a hand to the movement to stop sexual orientation/gender identification discrimination at schools in Texas.

This event may seem small but, in all honesty, it sent a shockwave through our staunchly Christian town that has a population of only 1,300 people. When I leave this small town and start college in Denton in the fall, nothing will change about how I handle the situations that I view as problematic. I will never fail to stand up for LGBT rights and Marriage Equality because, after all, it’s not just a matter of gay rights but it’s a matter of human rights.

Attached are photos of both my locker and of me with the magazine after taking the picture for the yearbook.