The student news site of Naperville North High School

The North Star

The student news site of Naperville North High School

The North Star

The student news site of Naperville North High School

The North Star

New mural around queer acceptance aims to support unity at Naperville North

Photo by Varsha Parthasarathy

As you’re walking through the hallways at Naperville North, you stroll through the Small Caf, by the girls’ bathroom, when suddenly a mural catches your eye. This new, technicolor mural that bursts with rainbows and joy aims to celebrate the queer students at NNHS and is currently in the process of being painted by the National Art Honors Society (NAHS).

The mural features a pride parade, with the intention to show queer students at NNHS that they are seen and represented in the school. William Clark, the NAHS president, hopes that the mural will instill a sense of unity in those who walk by and help queer students feel more accepted.

“It’s very important to see those parts of yourself around you… it makes you feel like you are less of an outsider,” Clark said.

As a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, the mural has taken a long time to come to fruition. Three years ago, the NNHS Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club approached NAHS about creating a mural. The idea was approved by the school shortly after and painting began in the 2020-21 school year. It was decided that the mural would feature a pride parade, with many different people celebrating their identities. NAHS member Cecilia Burke elaborates on how this inclusive concept adds more complexity to the mural’s completion.

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“We only meet once a week, so it takes a while to color match the people’s skin tones, and painting people just takes a while,” Burke said.

Having representation and showing acceptance for members of the LGBTQ+ community is vital in high schools. In 2019, the state of Illinois passed a new law that requires public schools to include the political, economic and social contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals within the curriculum. This was done in an effort to highlight a broader picture of history and to give LGBTQ+ students an opportunity to see themselves represented and heard in the classroom.

Co- Vice Presidents of the GSA club, Trinnity Feliciano and Avni Sabharwal, believe that queer acceptance at Naperville North is adequate. Although they have experienced light mockery around being in GSA, students never make it a point to be rude. Sabharwal believes that the level of education in Naperville contributes to people’s acceptance.

“Naperville is a very educated place, so people learn about [the LGBTQ+] community at a younger age,” Sabharwal said.

By putting a rainbow-clad pride parade front and center in a crowded hallway, NAHS and GSA hope to raise queer acceptance at Naperville North. They also hope that the mural will provide many more individuals the opportunity to learn about the LGBTQ+ community. At GSA, many meetings include informational sessions around queer identities and awareness. Sabharwal describes one of these types of meetings that GSA conducts.

“We did a presentation about asexual awareness week, why it’s important, and resources about the identity,” Sabharwal said.

Although the mural may not resolve all the problems with LGBTQ+ acceptance at NNHS, Feliciano and Sabharwal still believe it will help those in the community feel like they belong.

“I think it will make queer kids feel more accepted in general,” Feliciano said.

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About the Contributor
Varsha Parthasarathy
Varsha Parthasarathy, Staff Writer
Varsha Parthasarathy is a junior at Naperville North, and is looking forward to writing and creating for The North Star. She is looking forward to trying out new forms of media and learning more about creating journalistic content. Outside of the newsroom, Varsha is the captain of the Girls Badminton team, in charge of communications for Model UN and the Vice President of the Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science club.

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