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3 March 2011, 1:00 pm No Comments

Not Your Average Prom Queen: Oops, Texas Did It Again

This post was submitted by Jean

Last week the conservative and homophobic leaders in Texas were at it again — as if we haven’t experienced enough of discriminatory Texas craziness. A high school student in Corpus Christi tried to organize a Gay-Straight Alliance by gathering 500 signatures and the school board responded by not only rejecting her proposal, but by shutting down all extra-curricular activities at the school.

Really? That is some serious homophobia. The scam here is that by banning all clubs that are not academic (or “curricular”) from campus, they are following a previously ignored rule on the books. This way, that GSA isn’t being blocked because it’s a GSA, it’s blocked because it’s not “curricular.” This is the sort of language and double talk that ends up in state and federal governments as well.   The area’s Superintendent Julie Carbajal has said that there is no chance the district will approve the purposed Gay-Straight Alliance.

The importance of Gay-Straight Alliances is immeasurable and the many heroes in our community include those who work with these programs educating and supporting young people.  I am proud that I have friends who as high school teachers started GSAs; as university professors created policies protecting transgender students in athletics programs; who as residence hall directors acted on Safe Space Planning committees and instructed AIDS Peer Education. These groups are the key to helping young gay or questioning students find information and support. They are also crucial for parents, teachers and community members to learn about LGBTQ issues and what they can do to support and foster the health and success of young people. Texas school leaders are making fools of themselves in front of a nation which is increasingly accepting of individual rights.

Sometimes being an advocate for equality is just so disappointing. Reading news like this is one of those times. I hope school boards and educators across the country take this opportunity to express their support for student organizing – even if just to distance themselves from the hatred and discrimination which flies like a flag over the Lone Star State.

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