LGBTQ+ at MacDuffie


Clara LaChance

A safe space sticker given out by the QSA for teachers to hang on their doors to show that their room is a safe space for LGBTQ+ students. Photo by Clara LaChance.

In the current political and social climate, discrimination based on people’s sexual identity and sexual orientation has entered the public eye. As a diverse school, we must take an active role in the betterment of our community, and such actions start by asking a single difficult question, “How would students of the LGBTQ+ community describe their experience at MacDuffie?”

By asking this question, we can begin to engage in a necessary, though possibly uncomfortable, dialogue. One that will help foster growth in our community. That being said, here is a look at the experiences of various students apart of the LGBTQ+ community:


  • QSA:

During my first year at MacDuffie, Ninth grade, I was ecstatic to find the QSA. Yes, most schools possess some sort of group of this nature, but this doesn’t stop there. During the second QSA meeting of 2018, an administrator entered the room with a copy of a form still in the works. It was a future policy on gender rules for boarders at MacDuffie. I distinctly remember how this administrator expressed that he wanted someone, who could identify with the policies,  to read this form and adjust it, in any way necessary, to provide optimum acceptance. Although I am cisgender, I am a part of the LGBTQ community, and at that moment I knew that this school cared about me. I knew this school did more than just put on a mask of diverse acceptance towards the queer community, that there was a welcoming face behind it.

  • Transitioning:

I identify as transgender, as I have transitioned from my birth gender to Non-Binary. Non-Binary is like a gender limbo, you are neither male nor are you female, I simply deny the existence of gender in my being. I use they/them pronouns and I’m misgendered on a daily basis by most of my peers and some of my teachers. A little before the report cards came out, I asked the school nurse to send out an email to my teachers reminding them to use my correct pronouns,  and they did. The teachers of this school have been very accepting towards me which I am very thankful for. 

To come out to every single person in the school not knowing if they will accept me for who I am is something I do not wish to do. I have simply chosen to suffer in silence when my peers misgender me and I know that can only last so long. I have tried to get up the courage to speak up for myself when called on by my birth pronouns yet as a generally not very assertive person I definitely have trouble speaking up for myself. I think that it would be easier for everyone if it were mandatory for teachers to ask all of their student’s pronouns at the beginning of the school year. I can say that the only teachers that asked the entire class’s pronouns at the start of the year were the art department and I applaud them for their awareness but I was a little disappointed with the other teachers.


  • Bathrooms:

I have noticed that If I am on the main floor of the building I have to go to either the computer lab or the bottom floor of the building to go to the bathroom. I must say I understand that there are more faculty than non-binary people at this school yet I still find it frustrating walking by one or two faculty restrooms to get to a bathroom that I can go in.

  • Clothing:

I dress very unlike the average MacDuffie student. I often wear skirts and t-shirts with black eye makeup and due to society putting gender on clothing I find that I am misgendered in a skirt a lot more than in pants. This makes me question a lot of things but most of all what gender and prejudices we as a school project onto clothing. I wonder if a male-identifying student were to wear a skirt and/or makeup would he get misgendered as well? I believe that this is a question the community of those who go to this school need to try to answer for themselves honestly and try to ask before assuming someone’s gender.



  • Change:

In Eighth grade, I came out as Bisexual and Non-Binary. I came forward to all my friends and teachers, but I feel like no one took me seriously. It’s not that they didn’t accept my sexuality, but more that they continued to misgender me and refer to me by she/her pronouns. For a few years, nothing really changed, and people continued to misgender me on a constant basis. But last year, I decided to become more persistent. I knew that it might be hard, but I wanted some students and faculty to make a real effort to accept my identity. Instead of letting it slide, I corrected people when they used the wrong pronouns. 

One afternoon, a teacher asked me to stay after on a zoom call. They apologized for misgendering me and promised to refer to me properly in the future. It made me happy to know that this person was making an effort, and gradually, I began to see others do the same. When report cards rolled around, other faculty members double, triple, and quadruple checked to make sure the comments all used the correct pronouns. I also found friends in the LGBTQ+ community at MacDuffie who also accepted me and helped me appreciate my environment more. With their love and the receptiveness of the faculty, it made it easier for me to come out because I knew those around me would be supportive. 




We hope that by reading these stories, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of MacDuffie’s LBGTQ+ Community. As a school that prides itself on diversity and inclusion, there are many things we can change, one being our behavior, to better be supportive of those in the LGBTQ+ community. One simple act of kindness, like having teachers ask students for their preferred pronouns at the start of the school year, can provide a support network for the LGBTQ+ members of the MacDuffie community. 

If, by chance, you recognize yourself in any of these stories, take a look inward. Understand that an encounter you may have had with a fellow classmate left an impact, whether positive or negative, that has yet to be seen. We must all take responsibility for our words and actions, especially when considering them in the scope of communal experiences.