Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Letter to the Editor


My letter to the editor today in response to this article.  Don't read the comments to the article if you don't want to feel sick or angry.  I'm sure if you read the CitPat you'll see the article within the week.  They're very good about printing letters, and I haven't written one in a while.

Dear Editor,
            Your article on the Gay Straight Alliance at Columbia High School quotes people saying “They shouldn’t get to push it down other students’ necks” and “If you support your homosexuality, then we shall support our heterosexuality.” 
            First, heterosexuality is universally supported—at every church, school, and family, and by the state.  These things aren’t labeled “heterosexual” because it’s the dominant norm.  Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, too, support their heterosexual relatives, classmates, teachers, and friends.  The Gay STRAIGHT Alliance also supports heterosexuals.
            Second, how is supporting students by allowing them to be themselves “pushing it” at people?  By this argument, prom is a great big celebration of heterosexuality which pushes it at LGBT students.  LGBT students interact with heterosexuals constantly without complaining if they openly declare it. 
LGBT students often experience bullying.  They are much more likely to be tossed out of their homes by their parents and out of churches by pastors.  They face a constant barrage of mistreatment and need this support.  Only two schools in our county have a GSA.  I’m aware of only one Jackson community organization for LGBT people (PFLAG), and only one Jackson-area church openly and explicitly welcoming LBGT people (mine).  That’s four oases of support in a very large and often hostile region for these youth.
            Arguments against range from “I was bullied; I survived,” to “Bullying is unlawful; GSAs are unnecessary” to “They deserve it.”  It’s outrageous to argue against bullied students coming together in support.  Violence against children is always wrong.  Creating environments that love and support all children is always right.  It’s really that simple.  The best rules, like the Golden Rule, always are.
            The simple solution if you don’t like the GSA: Don’t join. 
The Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Landrum
Universalist Unitarian Church of East Liberty

5 comments:

Cynthia Landrum said...

A 300-word limit is hard enough, but my name and church count as 12!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Cindy, for so eloquently expressing our basic belief in the dignity and worth of every human being. Once again, I am proud you are my minister.
Gratia Karmes (Jerome)

nenaobits said...

Very good response, Cindy. It's so easy for those in the "majority" to overlook how priveledged they are.

WaterWeasel said...

Thank you for writing this, Cindy. I was absolutely appalled while reading about the reaction this group was receiving, and I am so glad that someone is speaking out against this kind of blatant bullying. The same topic is the big white elephant in the very conservative district in which I teach. Thanks you for sharing such truthful words and shooting down a ridiculous argument.

Meredith

mek said...

My daughter, who happens to be straight, belonged to the GSA in her high school. Because of her membership, and because her dress and mannerism are "tomboy-ish," many of her acquaintances and even teachers assumed she was a lesbian. Luckily, she went to a magnet school in a fairly liberal area and wasn't bullied. In addition, she didn't mind others' assumptions because she was comfortable with her identity. Not all young people, gay or straight, are in a situation where they feel safe joining a GSA. Being a gay high-schooler is difficult enough, but more so if their straight peers are intimidated from standing up with them. I'm very glad that courageous students and adults in this area are forming an alliance. I hope it helps change perceptions and to make it clear to LGBT students that they have straight fellow students who are proud to walk with them.