A few weeks ago, another teacher and I were approached by some students and asked if the school had a Straight-Gay Alliance. It doesn't and they expressed interest in starting one. The other teacher and I agreed that we would be willing to be the faculty sponsors of the club and the other teacher began looking into how to start one.
She contacted the national chapter of SGA and sent an e-mail to the principal, who ultimately has the final say-so. She got lots of valuable information from the national chapter and received no response to her e-mail to the principal. Yesterday she went to see him. When she walked into his office, he asked "Is this about the gay thing?"
He then told her in no uncertain terms that it would not happen while he was in charge of the school. His reasoning was that it was a slippery slope and it would open the door to all sorts of other clubs "such as a pot-smoking club." He stated that if she wanted there to be a club like this one, she would have to wait 3-4 years until he was no longer the principal. He made several other statements about why this could not happen but the teacher conveying the information to me was very emotional and I don't want to quote anything else out of context.
Aside from the extremely offensive linking of homosexuality and illegal activity, this is against the law. The Equal Access Act states that any school which receives federal funds and has at least one non-curriculum club (including sports teams), must allow for the creation of an SGA. Should the school refuse, they forfeit all federal money.
I am stunned by this interaction. Our school has several students who are openly gay or support LGBTQ lifestyles. The majority of the surrounding districts have a chapter of SGA or one of its incarnations. On top of all of this, the school has been promoting how we need to be more attentive to the needs of our students, going so far as to place posters all over the school that read "Whatever it takes, out students are worth it." We have also been on an anti-bullying kick as well.
The next step, which has been taken, was to inform the students who have interest in the club that they needed to propose the club themselves. The club must, by law, be initiated by the students and have at least one faculty advisor. School officials are not allowed to change the name of the club to something more "palatable."
As a non-tenured teacher, I am taking a very back seat to this particular debate. Normally, I would charge in, guns blazing, torches ready to burn every bridge in sight. This time, however, I'm planning to support the students 100% and see what happens. There is no point in my fighting for this if the students don't care enough to do it themselves.
I have spent my entire life in the presence of gays and lesbians. My parents were part of a couple group when I was growing up that consisted mainly of homosexual couples. All of my mom's friends from the Peace Corps are all gay. This seems so normal to me that I am always baffled when people give the response of "Oh yuck! Gays! Don't touch me!"
I've had numerous discussions with friends and coworkers about gay marriage, DADT and various other issues surrounding the homosexual lifestyle and community. I have yet to encounter an argument that doesn't essentially boil down to being scared of, or grossed out by, homosexuals.
The concept of "love the sinner, hate the sin" strikes me as well intentioned, but idiotic. I understand it for things such as poor behavior in children, but this implies that homosexuality is something that is chosen. During discussions of this nature, I often make the argument that 50 years ago, people looked on interracial marriage as a sin and didn't want blacks serving in the military. I'm usually countered that people can't choose to be black. I can't even begin to go into the fallacies of this argument.
I'd like to think that there is something behind all of this other than fear and hate, but I have yet to be presented with anything to the contrary.
Harper will be raised to embrace the differences in people. I hope to instill in her the value that it's how you treat other people that makes you a good or a bad person.
I don't understand why this is such a debated topic.
Perhaps my new argument in these discussions will be "Just because I think that you're hideous and the idea of you having sex with anyone, let alone your wife, fills me with repulsion and causes bile to rise in the back of my throat, doesn't mean that you shouldn't be allowed to do it."
Maybe not. That seems intolerant.