Some gay high school drama over in New Jersey. Administrators at East Side High School are under fire after censoring a gay senior’s yearbook page.
Andre Jackson didn’t include any pictures of gangs, nudity or violence on his $150 page, all of which the school explicitly prohibits. Instead, Jackson included a picture of him lovingly kissing his boyfriend.
Unfortunately, Superintendent Marion Bolden and her colleagues weren’t so loving: they went through all 230 copies of the yearbook and blacked out the picture.
Garden State Equality’s Steve Goldstein and his colleagues are leading a battle against the school,
This action by the school district will have an unspeakably vile chilling effect on other gay and lesbian students coming out. Her (Bolden) trying to erase a student and his boyfriend is a metaphor for her trying to erase the gay and lesbian community out of Newark and its school system. It’s wrong and it’s ridiculous.
Bolden insists, however, the school edited the picture because of its “suggestive” nature. We wonder why, then, they didn’t edit pictures of straight couples kissing. Bolden, who describes herself as “tolerant,” claims there’s no anti-gay bias. The picture, however, crossed a line, “I thought that the photo was suggestive… It looked like two men kissing. To me, it looked fairly illicit. It was pointed out as problematic, so maybe I read more into it.” Ug, that’s so gross. How can she tell the press there’s no bias, but then describe the picture as “illicit”.
For his part, 18-year old Jackson insists he wasn’t looking for trouble,
I didn’t intend to say, ‘Oh hey, look at me, I’m gay. It was just a picture showing my emotion, saying that I’m happy, you know, whatever. It was to look back on as a memory.
Garden State Equality and other pro-gay activists are calling for the school to reprint and redistribute the uncensored yearbook. If the school resists, they’d like to remind Bolden and her cronies that New Jersey prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. And this seems to be a clear cut case of anti-queer discrimination.
To give Bolden a piece of your mind, give her a ring at 1-973-733-7333. Tell her Queerty sent you.
We’d like to say that we love how the school tried to censor Jackson, but now their actions are propelling the picture around the world. Where’s Alanis when you need her?