image-cunha lgbtq ally
Cunha Intermediate School students stand in colorful support of the LGBTQ community in an event commemorating National Coming Out Day. Kyle Ludowitz / Review

Cunha Intermediate School eighth-graders Jaya Miller and Zoe Chait spent three weeks planning an event to coincide with National Coming Out Day, but last week's power outage postponed their plans.

They rescheduled a week later, and the two corralled enough students to spell out “LGBTQ” on the basketball courts at Cunha. As the students lined up along the chalk lines Miller and Chait had drawn, the coordinated shirts worn by the students created a rainbow. As they stood in their lines, they received doughnuts purchased by the local organization CoastPride.

“It’s an event to honor LGBTQ-plus people,” Miller said. “We always wanted to support them.”

Some students and staff did more than just wear the required color for their letter. A few adults wore rainbow tutus. One boy wore what looked like a ghillie suit and another a bright green beanie over his face.

The event is aligned with Cabrillo Unified School District’s decision to pass a resolution recognizing October as LGBTQ History Month. Chait said they’ve tried to recognize influential people who were part of the LGBTQ community during daily announcements, people such as Alan Turing, who cracked enemy codes during World War II, and Ellen DeGeneres, the comedian and television host.

Principal James Barnes watched the event, letting the students take charge. While there may be people who think junior high students are too young to have these conversations, Barnes said kids are discovering their identities in middle school and this event shows solidarity.

“We have kids who are transitioning, and we have kids who are coming out,” he said. “We support them.” 

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