Sunday, April 4, 2010

One year later...

In my Miss Jubilee blog, I wrote many entries about the Safe Schools Program of PFLAG NYC, but for new readers, HERE it is. And HERE on PFLAG NYC's website.

The facts are that up to 10% of people are LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender). There are 1,000,000 (one million.) kids in NYC public schools. This means that in our public schools, there are up to 100,000 kids who are in a range from unknowing to struggling to confidently displaying their sexual orientation, and it's not the orientation this world deems "normal." So 100,000 kids. That is why we, PFLAG NYC, are in schools.

Over a year ago, I spoke to a few classrooms at Bronx Community High School. I heard derogatory slang, disrespectful language, and I heard, "Whatever, I'm straight, I don't need to listen to this sh*t." And I responded, "Guess what? I'm straight too. And I have something for you to hear." To those whose attention we kept, I think we (2 mothers and myself) made an impact, and I was especially grateful to the young man who came up to me afterwards and thanked me for coming and sharing my story. He also apologized for his peers.

But then...a few weeks ago during New York's Respect for All Week, I returned to Bronx Community High School and had a completely different experience. This time around, I was in a classroom of all girls who were completely open to talking about LGBT issues and were so respectful and interested in our dialogue. Tyla shared her story about being a lesbian and how her family and friends have reacted, and every girl in that classroom respected Tyla and her girlfriend. THIS is the environment we are trying to achieve: one of respect, equality and dignity for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and especially the stereotypes or stigma surround any of these labels. It was incredible to be able to THANK these girls for their inclusive opinions and actions, even though accepting each other was just a natural expectation of themselves. Perhaps it was just a different group, but I accredit this school and its counselors, principal and teachers for the progress that I witnessed, as well as the students. Change comes from the inside - out and the bottom - up. And it's happening.

1 comment:

  1. Claire your passion, committment and work ethic are astonishing. I would like to join you in your efforts...just not sure how. Let me know if you have any or later in NYC.