Wednesday, March 26, 2008

First Gay Straight Alliance Meeting

Last week was the first meeting of the Gay Straight Alliance that I agreed to be the faculty advisor for. I went to the meeting, dreading what I had gotten myself into, afraid of what I would be dealing with and pissed with myself for having to stay in school an extra period.

This week, I am going to the meeting without the dread. I still don't want to stay late, but I am looking forward to listening to the ideas of a bright group of young people, proud of who they are and willing to embrace the lives they are leading.

About thirty kids attended last week's meeting. Most were gay, although many were not. These kids had joined to show their support. One of the organizers, a boy in my period one class, told me he was not gay and then asked if I thought he was. I told him that I would never judge anyone by appearances and it did not matter to me what his sexual preference is.

The kids took turns introducing themselves and talking about things they were interested in. I was relieved that sex did not come up as I am a firm believer in abstinence for teens. After this, they broke into groups, discussed whether gay marriage should be legal and then shared their findings with the rest of the group.

The meeting ended with a talk about the Day Of Silence coming up and how they would show their support. The girl who introduced the topic was fantastic. She explained that by not speaking they would be speaking for all the gays that could not speak for themselves.

During my C-6 assignment today, I met a young man who was at that meeting. We started talking about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." I want the kids to get involved in a lobby to over turn that law. (I am sure there must be a lobby group working on that somewhere.) I then found out that the JROTC has the same policy, so I am going to try to push them to work towards the end of that in our school.

These kids are alive with spirit. It might take a while, but it is kids like this that will change the world.


17 (really 15) more years said...

You did a great thing becoming their advisor. It's a sin to watch kids unable to be themselves and struggle with their identity.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it's worth staying an extra period knowing you are making a difference. After reading this, I wouldn't care if I got per session. This is priceless.


JUSTICE not "just us" said...

Do you know that in a school in Chelsea named after a famous civil rights leader who happen to be gay there is gay bashing and the Principal has discouraged such student organizations from forming?


WHS Cheer Girl said...

Thank you so much for advising a GSA! We are in the process of forming one as well and are formally organizing our 2nd Day of Silence! Last year we had about 500 students at our school participate, either as silent participants or active supporters. I was actually able to remain silent as a teacher as well.

Please let me know if you would like any advice!

NYC Educator said...

That's surprising that a JROTC, or indeed any organization sanctioned by this city would have such a policy. It would be much better if they'd try a policy like, "Your sex life is none of our damn business and we're not gonna bother you about it no matter what."

In fact, I'd like to see that policy instituted nationally.

Chaz said...

I think it takes "guts" for many of the high school boys to even attend such a meeting. To be a "gay" male in high school is extremely difficult with all the homophobia found at the high school level.

Beth said...

The school I worked in long ago had one of the first GSA programs. Now it is called something like Ambassadors for Diversity due to public pressure.
They use a lot of Project Adventure activities to learn about themselves and others. Also, Fox News did a great series (imagine that) called "The Truth About Hate" and featured a PA session on it. You can get the full series or see pieces from it here