This week, the principal of a South Carolina high school resigned from his job because he was told to allow a chapter of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) to exist at his school. In his letter of resignation he stated: ““I feel the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance Club at (high school name) implies that students joining the club will have chosen to or will choose to engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex, opposite sex, or members of both sexes.” He elaborated that the sex education at the high school was abstinence-based and that he believed the GSA was not of the same philosophy.
The Gay-Straight Alliance is not about “having sex.” The GSA provides “a safe place for students to meet, support each other, talk about issues related to sexual orientation, and work to end homophobia.” Furthermore, the GSA is a “support group to provide safety and confidentiality to students who are struggling with their identity as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning.”
I am sure that there are many out there who will disagree with me when I say that our teens need some place where they can feel safe as they attempt to discover and accept their own identities, on all levels. We are born to be the person we are and we cannot change who we are to please others. Regardless of our sexuality, gender, ethnicity or culture, we deserve to be the person we were born to be, without judgment or ridicule from others.
Everyone is different in one way or another. Discrimination and prejudice are born out of a fear of what is different. It evolves into hate when we cannot explain or change what we don’t understand. Discrimination, prejudice, fear and hate should never be considered to be acceptable way for society to deal with differences.
When my oldest daughter was in high school, a friend “came out” to his parents, believing that if he would gain acceptance from anyone, it would be his family. He was disappointingly wrong. They kicked him out of their home. He was a teen, only three months from graduation, on his own, struggling with his identity and rejected by his family. Teenagers should grow up with the knowledge that their families will love them no matter what. Unfortunately, they often do not.
I will quickly and openly confess that there is NOTHING that my daughters can do or confess that will ever make me stop loving them. I will never disown them. I will never turn my back on them. They are mine for life; and I will always be their mother. Unfortunately, all teens do not live in the same situation.
How can our society be so full of bigotry and ignorance that we are willing to harm our children to make our point? Who gave us the right to condemn other people to hell for being the person they were born to be?
Education is the cure for ignorance. Before we continue to spread the hate, we should take the time to educate ourselves. I challenge each of you to begin that education on the web sites for the Gay-Straight Alliance, Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG), and GLBT National Help Center. Help put an end to hate.