The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Day of Dialogue promotes pride and progress

“You’re meant to be out here, every part of you,” junior Cleo Blanding said in one of the scenes, performed by the Theater for Social Change class, that focused on learning to love all parts of yourself.

Rainbow flags, rainbow balloons and rainbow makeup on the faces of smiling students created an atmosphere of pride for the 2024 Day of Dialogue on Wednesday, April 3: a day to highlight the struggles and joys of being part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The day kicked off in A-block with the the first of two Telling Our Stories assemblies, where seniors Isabella Wong, Priya Katari, Bella Jacopille, John Watson, Christa Washburn and English teacher Nick Rothstein gave speeches in the auditorium on topics such as coming out, homophobia and being an ally.

Katari spoke about how she had searched for words that could define her own experience and how she wasn’t sure if there was any word that could fully define her. She landed on one word that she liked: queer.

“‘Queer,’ as in fabulous, cool, unexpected. ‘Queer,’ as in community. ‘Queer,’ as in dismantling society’s expectations and my own to flourish into something that’s both new and has always been there. ‘Queer,’ as in infinite, the ever-expanding universe of myself and others,” Katari said.

Watson spoke about how he never felt included on the track team and how being gay created an invisible barrier between him and the other boys. He said society pressures boys to cut themselves off from feeling empathetic towards others.

“The world tells us to prioritize a false sense of power and ego at the expense of others, and if we’re honest, at the expense of our own happiness,” Watson said. “Because being a jerk to me might win you points in the game of masculinity, but you are the one who gets lost in the emptiness of heartlessness.”

Day of Dialogue continued into C-block with guest speaker and alum Ev Gilbert ‘18, a trans and genderqueer Asian-American queer youth worker and educator. Gilbert told the story of their identity and their coming out journey from high school to now.

“I was raised in a cis-heteronormative environment, so I didn’t know anything else, and because I lacked queer and trans representation in my life, I didn’t see the possibilities of different identities,” Gilbert said.

In D-block, after Gilbert’s presentation, upperclassmen watched scenes written and performed by the Theater for Social Change class that depicted the issues and joys that come with being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Simultaneously, underclassmen had a lesson on how to be an ally versus a co-conspirator and read speeches written by students from the vigil mourning the death of nonbinary teenager Nex Benedict.

The final block of the day was a second Telling Our Stories Assembly with speakers and seniors Julian Rodriguez Velez, Audrey Seeger, Anastasia Kunicka, Jacklyn Thibodeau, junior Jesse Waters-Malone and Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator Jen Martin.

Thibodeau talked about her coming out journey and how happy she is that everyone can see her for who she truly is.

“If there’s one thing that I’ve taken from that whole experience, it’s that living my truth is one of the best decisions that I have ever made,” Thibodeau said. “I went from never imagining myself going through life as an out woman to never wanting to go back to being closeted. Why would I anyway? I love being myself.”

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