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Second Homophobia Town Hall date set

By | 2004-02-12T09:00:00-05:00 February 12th, 2004|Uncategorized|

By BTL Staff

DETROIT – The Steering Committee that produced the historic Town Hall to address homophobia in Detroit announced that it has set the date, May 12, 2004, for the follow-up panel discussion. Titled “Young, Black, Gifted and Gay,” the forum will focus on African American LGBT youth and pursue the issue of establishing gay/straight alliances (GSA) in the Detroit Public Schools system. Detroit is currently the only large school system in the nation that does not have GSAs.
Dr. Kenneth Burnley, the General Superintendent of DPS, was a no-show at the first panel discussion on January 28. He withdrew after initially agreeing to appear at the forum, and did not provide a representative in his place. He has already been invited to anchor the next panel.
“It is imperative the Dr. Burnley be present on May 12,” said Imani Williams, one of the three Homophobia Steering Committee co-founders and interim president of P-FLAG Family Reunion. “Our kids need some answers, our kids need some support before the situation gets any further out of hand. The 2004 school year needs to close with GSAs in place in as many schools as possible.”
During the first Town Hall, Detroit’s LGBT high school students were a main topic. The discussion shed light on several serious and potentially life threatening situations that have gone unaddressed because the Board of Education has no policy in place, including gay bashing incidents at Northwestern and Highland Park High Schools, “gangs” formed at Mumford and Cody by LGBT students for their own protection, and rampant HIV/AIDS crises discovered during a Red Cross blood drive at five Detroit high schools.
“The panelists we are looking for are people that can speak to the specific needs of LGBT kids – students, teachers, counselors, school administrators, parents,” Steering Committee co-founder Brent Carpenter stated. “We are working on securing a Detroit high school as the venue for May, somewhere with a larger auditorium to accommodate what we hope will be another overflow turnout.”
“We left the first Town Hall on the same page,” said Johnny Jenkins, Steering Committee co-founder. “The youth are an issue that we need to focus more attention on. The audience responded, the panel responded, and gave us much needed feedback that we need to get on this right away because there is an opportunity. The door is slightly ajar and it’s up to us to walk through it.”

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.