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By Sharon Gittleman
OAK PARK – Two educators and a college student will talk about being out, as a gay teacher or gay student, during high school at a March 26 panel presented by the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit.
“Being Out in School: Saved by the Bell,” will feature educators Marlowe Robinson B’sheart and Michael Chiumento, and Oakland Community College student Katie Werner.
B’sheart, director of Community High School in Madison Heights, said she’s always been out at her jobs as a teacher and school administrator.
“I strive to be authentic with my relationships with parents, community members, students and staff. That’s part of who I am,” she said.
B’sheart said it’s important for young people to see lgbt men and women as known individuals.
“Queer kids need to know it’s okay to be queer and out,” she said. “It helps combat the negative stereotypes and prejudices presented to straight children.”
But according to Chiumento, coming out is a daily process.
Chiumento believes teachers and youths who aren’t out often carry a heavy load of shame, but those feelings can be remedied.
“It’s just one step at a time and all the steps are baby steps,” he said.
“Being Out in School: Saved by the Bell,” will be held at 7 p.m. March 26 in the Prentis Social Hall of the Jimmy Prentis Morris Building, at the Jewish Community Center on 15110 W. 10 Mile, Oak Park.