Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth
Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, and Megan S. Kennedy
Schools should be a place where children and young adults go and know that there's a purpose for them there and are not being singled out for being "different". I put different in quotation marks because that word is used a lot by people who feel as if people who are gay, lesbian, transgender etc., are different then people who are straight. The article expresses a lot how hard it is for children to feel safe at school because even some teachers, along with other classmates are picking on them and not allowing them to be themselves. Teachers choose not to express different family style units because they feel that children shouldn't be expose to anything other then a man and woman relationship. The idea is put in people's head that those relationships are wrong but they're not. People are people and they should be able to express who they are and who they are interested in without feeling like they don't belong. Kids go to school and express there time there to be unsafe. They get bullied for being who they are and that's wrong. No one goes around picking on someone who is in a straight relationship because that is the "normal" relationship style. In the media, most relationships are between a man and a women and there were very few situations where a different family unit is expressed. Over time, things have changed but still not enough. There are still kids who go to school scared of what his peers will say or do. For some, it's even the teachers who are putting them in such situations.
August expresses a lot that things in the schools need to change. This is where the change will begin. A lot of the time the bullies in the situations are the kids who have never been introduced to any other family unit and that is why the sight of seeing two people of the same gender together is odd to them. They've grown up seeing a man and a woman together as normal so of course they are going to pick on something that they see as not normal. I think the ideas of changing the way the lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender youth is looked at would be useful. From a young age, children should be expose to families with two females as the role of parents and also two males as parents. To take a quote directly from the text, "As the issues become commonplace in the classroom, students may be better prepared to accept, support, and appreciate gays, lesbians and bisexuals out of the classroom as well."(August Page 92) It is because we are not expose to it at a young age, it is harder to accept, support and appreciate LGBT youth and adults. The issue came up a lot that the school felt that it just wasn't their place to expose other children to it. I do see where that is coming from but on the other hand I also see it as, everyone gets exposed to it sooner or later so why does it matter if they get exposed to something outside their normal a little sooner?
As a kid, I was never expose to anything like that. Not in TV shows, books, magazines and definitely not through conversations with my parents and family. There is not a single couple in my family that is not between a man and a woman. My family has always had a strong opinion on this issue and they have always made it clear to us that a marriage should only be between a male and a female. So with having that basically drilled into my head, it was strange to see couples who weren't like that. When I got a job and went to High School, I definitely saw more of how other people can be happy. I'm not going to lie, it was weird to me at first but over time it definitely became just another normal to me. Having such a strong opinion coming from my parents I did face hard things with my friends. My best friend for example is bisexual. She hid it from me for so long because she knew how I was raised and my opinion on the topic. When she finally came out to me I was lost for words. At this time, she was just telling me that she was talking to a girl and probably was going to start dating her. After fights and long periods of not talking, I aloud myself to see from a different point of view. I had to realize that she was happy even if she was with a girl instead of a guy. It took awhile and I know I said some terrible things over the time to her, but we got through it. Every one is entitled to their own opinion but I think it is important that I was able to see that I was wrong in this situation because it was unfair to her. She didn't feel that she could be herself around me but now she can and our friendship is closer than ever because I am able to accept her for who she is.
I choose to include this video because it just a good video that expresses happiest can be found with everyone no matter who they want to be with. People who are with the same sex and feel like they are different are expressed through this. They should be happy everyday and should be comfortable and proud to be who they are. These people in this video talk about how scared and nervous they are to be coming out and I see that as sad because for a straight person, we don't feel scared or nervous to talk about who we are interested in. They have to face this and struggle everyday with the way people talk to them and treat them. This was just another eye opener for me because there's really nothing different about the people in this video. These labels mean nothing and we are all the same.
I watch Ellen a lot and I remembering watching this video and it's really important in my opinion. All this student wanted was to go to Prom like everyone else in her school with the person she wanted to go with. It's because she wanted to go with her girlfriend that things got hard for her. She was told by her principal that it just wasn't allowed. To avoid her showing up with her girlfriend, the principal decided to just cancel Prom all together. Almost everyone looks forward to their prom, especially girls and now she wasn't able to go like she always planned because there was being rules put in place for her that restricted her to go with her girlfriend and have fun like everyone else.
Relating to Other Text:
Automatically I related this to our SCWAAMP activity. The S stands for straightness and how much we value it. People who are gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, etc are only facing these issues because of how much straightness is valued in our society. It's not likely to see a gay couple on the front cover of a magazine. It's not likely to see a lesbian couple be aired on TV. Yes, there are cases where it happens but if you hold it in comparison to how much a straight couple is in the media, there's a huge difference.
Questions/Comments/Points To Share:
This topic really just bothers me because we are not exposed to it nearly enough and that is why this problem occurs. How can everyone accept, appreciate and support something that they know nothing about. In my High School, I remember only seeing one poster in my spanish class that talked about gay, lesbian , bisexual etc. relationships and it stood out to me. It stood out because It was one of the only ones up in the school. People just associated the teacher with maybe being gay because she had the poster up. I find that wrong because all she was doing was trying to bring the topic up in the classroom so people are comfortable.
There's so much that just keeps coming to my head about this topic but another thing that I find important is just how people are able to throw around this words but either don't even know what they mean or are just not even using them right. People are just blurting things out, not thinking it is effecting anyone, but what they are really doing is bullying because words really do hurt.
Another link to just add is a link I found that talks about things everyone should know. These situations are sad and I think everyone needs to be more aware, and open-minded so everyone can just feel happy and safe no matter where they are.