Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Trying to Show Support

Our school started a Gay-Straight Alliance, which really excites me because the last school I was at wasn't allowed to call it that because they would talk about naughty things. Instead, it was the Diversity Club, sponsored by a woman who's son is gay. The school I'm at this year did not have a very close minded person fighting against the formation, so the club formed. The sponsors offered to make the teachers little rainbow signs to put up to show support; so if a student feels they need to talk to someone, they know where to go. I asked for one and since I'm a traveling teacher, I put it up in the science office that nobody uses as an office but me and the other traveling teacher. I left after my plan and came back for lunch to find that my sign had been pulled down and put in the trash. I know it wasn't a student, so that leaves the staff I work with. This is really, really upsetting to me. If you don't want to show your support, that is fine, it is your decision. HOWEVER, do not take away from my decision to support gay and lesbians in our school.

I know it is a divisive issue, but here are my reasons for showing support:
  • Gay, lesbian & bisexual youth represent 30% of all teen suicides. (Thomas Marino, Counseling Today, May, 1995) and considering this was 14 years ago, I worry that it has gone up.
  • Gay, lesbian & bisexual youth are more likely to have attempted suicide than their straight peers.
  • Gay, lesbian & bisexual youth represent 25% of all homeless youth in the U.S. (U.S. Department of Health Services, 1989). I wonder why we don't have more recent data.
  • The average high school student in the U.S. hears anti-gay slurs 25 times per day.
  • 1 out of 6 gay teens has been beaten badly enough to require medical attention. (Center for Disease Control)
  • Gay men and lesbians (26%) are second only to African American men (33%) as the targets for hate crimes in LA County.
I think this is a civil rights issue that a large majority of the population wants to ignore because they believe it is morally wrong. They believe that there is something wrong with gays, lesbians, or bisexuals and think it can be cured. As I recall people used to think that as a group black people were lazy, dirty, ignorant, and all sorts of other things. We know that isn't true! A person cannot be defined by the color of their skin, the religion they practice, their gender, or their sexual orientation. Shouldn't we judge a person by the content of their character rather than any other physical characteristic (I know, I totally stole that line, but I love it!). The world needs more love, not less.

I put my sign back up and if anyone takes it down again, I'm duct taping it up!

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