Editorial: School is in

By |2005-09-01T09:00:00-04:00September 1st, 2005|Uncategorized|

It’s the end of the summer, which means the beginning of yet another school year.
LGBT students share many of the same concerns as their straight counterparts: finding their classes, who to sit with at lunch, the awkward oncoming of puberty, trying to balance homework with extracurricular activities and maybe even a part time job.
But LGBT students, in both grade school and college, are faced with some added difficulties and many do not receive support from their schools. LGBT youth have to worry about their sexuality – and, as anyone who has ever been a teenager knows, hormones are a powerful – and frustrating – thing. LGBT youth have to decide if they want to come out and face harassment or stay in the closet and constantly fear being “found out.” Many schools still don’t have Gay-Straight Alliances and very few include “sexual orientation” in their non-discrimination policies. Too often LGBT kids are subject to harassment from which they receive no protection.
To make matters worse, many school districts have sex education programs that completely ignore the existence of LGBT young people. These stress abstinence before marriage, and since gays can’t get married, gay youth are left to figure things out for themselves without any information about how to protect and respect themselves.
How do we make things better? Well, this issue of BTL includes some ideas, as well as some resources for LGBT college students in Michigan. In this issue we highlight a program that has been successful in giving LGBT allies a way to state their support in a simple, yet direct way. T-shirts reading “gay? fine by me” are being worn across the country. We encourage readers to get the shirts into their own schools and churches and neighborhoods and spread the word.
LGBT and allied students will also want to be sure to attend the Back to School Bash on Friday, Sept. 9 at Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center. The annual event is a great way for like-minded students to network and have a great time in the process.
The most effective way for LGBT and allied individuals to effect positive change at school is to be involved. If you’ve got children in school, be an active part of that child’s life at school. Join the PTA. Attend school board meetings.
Above all, consider running for school board yourself. The anti-gay industry has their sights set on local offices such as school boards and across the country they’re making sure LGBT youth stay invisible and unprotected, as well as outlawing the teaching of evolution and mandating abstinence only sex ed.
The best way to help our future LGBT community leaders is to be a leader yourself.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.