QUOTE: LGBT Students Need More Than Purple And Anti-Bullying Campaigns To Feel Safe

I’m all for solidarity and visible allies, but really – is a gay kid safer in school today because half of his peers wore purple? Will the trans girl in 9th grade start feeling safer now?… What does it mean for LGBTQI kids to be safe at school? Does school safety only mean protection from physical and verbal assault?

From early childhood through high school graduation, schools seem a little more committed to the [gender and sexual identity] development of [heterosexual, cisgender children]… School life from age 3 to 18 has images of what it is to be boys and men and what it is to be girls and women in our society. If you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, intersex or even gender non-normative (the butch girl or effeminate man), don’t count on having your gender or sexual identities represented, let alone celebrated, like those identities of heteronormative students.

…Invisibility is a way of fragmenting people, of preventing them from integrating the different components of their identities and feelings and ideas. …years and years of invisibility of one group and visibility of another unconsciously establishes a hierarchy – why wouldn’t a straight, masculine student (who sees himself and his relationships celebrated daily) feel his identity was more valid or “better” than the effeminate bisexual male student (whose sexual and gender identities have never even been discussed in school)?

– Sebastian’s must-read article at Autostraddle discussing what else needs to be done to protect and foster the well being of LGBT students.

Image via krossbow

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  • DavyJones

    I agree that ‘more should be done’; but yes, I do think students feel (and in fact are) safer in schools where ‘half their peers wore purple’. That is the exact type of action which says that LGBT students shouldn’t feel isolated, that there are people out there who support them. Is it ‘enough’ no, but it’s a very good step in the right direction.

    I think the actions taken by the student base (in this case: supporting LGBT students and events) probably have a bigger impact on how comfortable LGBT students are likely to feel in an environment than the curriculum taught in social science classes…

  • Hephaestion

    I never heard about the “wear purple day” until it was almost over. I don’t own anything purple anyway. If you’re going to do something like this, advertise it in advance. I read every gay blog and news source there is every day and I never read about wearing purple ahead of time. Also, if you’re going to ask people to wear a color like purple, you need to recognize that NO ONE HAS CLOTHES THAT COLOR and suggest that they wear a purple paper ribbon pinned to their shirt. At least most people can find a tiny piece of purple paper someplace to pin on. But better yet, ask people to wear white. Who has no white? And everyone looks good in white.

  • Dan

    How about lawyers form groups in each state to sue entities that violate the 14th amendment rights of GLBTA youth? The lawyers can make a fat profit while doing something very honorable – defending kids from discrimination – a win win. And they can sue entities that violate the 1st amendment rights of GLBTA people – which happens more often in the USA than anything else (offenders try to mask it with excuses but it all comes down to GLBTA people being punished for not obeying the religion of other people).

  • tallest

    This is dumb. I agree we need more done but really, we have to “celebrate people”? How bout schools just stop celebrating people, let kids just be kids, their sexuality and gender out of it. ezpz right, don’t positively or negatively enforce any of it and kids will be themselves more organically. School should be about education and bettering children, not all this positive reinforcement, self esteem bullshit.

    But maybe that’s just me… I guess other people need other people to tell them they are winners to feel validated.

  • jeff4justice

    In addition to making schools better for LGBT teens, how do we make America better for LGBT people of all walks of life of all ages?

    By empowering them?

    How do we do that?

    We start a national LGBT group devoted to serving the LGBT community in 5 key areas:

    -social event organizing
    -mental & physical health assistance
    -community involvement

    The big city LGBT people often have an abundance of this. Much of the rest of the rural, suburb, small town LGBTs are left behind.

    I live just 45 minutes from Sacramento and even that nearby them there’s a huge disparity between what Sacramento LGBTs and the nearby small town area LGBts have access to.

    I am working on developing this group. If you live in a small town, rural, suburb group where there are no LGBT centers or LGBT nonprofits working to better the LGBT community, please email me if you’d like to work together on developing this group.

    At [email protected] feel fee to email me.

    We can make things much better.

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