Saturday, March 08, 2003
Gay Teens? In Tennessee?

Today's Nashville Tennessean has this story about attempts by LBG teenagers to form gay-straight alliances in public secondary schools in middle Tennessee.

What I took away from the story was a general sense that administrators in those schools just don't know how to handle the issue, so they look for ways to make it go away. For instance, one says something along the lines that gay teenagers' needs in dealing with their situations are better served by professional counseling than by peer-group activiites, given the negative environment many of those kids find themselves in when they come out.

But those thinking along that track don't seem to grasp -- or would like very much to avoid grasping -- that the very act of putting together an LBG peer group or a gay-straight alliance, with a public face, does the long-term work of making the environment better. Instead of teaching gay teens coping solutions to jerky actions by thoughtless or hateful people, you change things such that those jerky actions are less likely to happen.

Trying to make the situation go away or pretending it's not there or relabelling it as something that it's not doesn't change that at all.

Hey, how'd I get up on this soapbox? Oh, right. I'm gay, and I grew up in middle Tennessee.