Sunday, January 08, 2006

Washington state LGBT youth organize gay-straight alliances

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Gay Straight Alliance ImageAccording to an article published by KIMA TV (Yakima, Washington), LGBT and straight youth are organizing gay-straight alliances in their schools, all in an effort to achieve acceptance, teach diversity and help to make their school atmospheres better for LGBT students. About 1 in 5 of the schools in the Yakima area have a gay-straight alliance, but the task of starting them have not been easy, as students face challenges from school administrators and fellow students. According to the article:
"Not the most accepting atmosphere, it can be discriminatory a lot of times, and students can be vicious," says Walter Schlect, a West Valley High School Student. It wasn't until an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer stepped in...did students at West Valley high School get permission to set up a G.S.A club. "As students describe...the school's placing restrictions on the club's ability to function on campus...based on the concern that the club discusses controversial subject matter," Schlect reads from the lawyer's letter. Students who faced the same difficulties met with regional coordinators, to get some additional resources and support. "Eastern Washington is a little behind Western Washington and so activities and events like this encourage students and let them know they aren't alone," says Robert Rakkety, Executive Director of G.L.S.E.N. Puget Sound.
Washington state's first gay-straight alliance was formed jst last year and the number of schools with a gay-straight alliance or similar group has been rising steadily, a sign that younger generations recognize the difficulties LGBT students face and that they are working to help address the situations. ====== Again, I say: LGBT youth are on the fore front of the struggle for equality. It is time that commuities, schools, community groups and, yes, even the church start to reach out and to help LGBT youth. Teenagers can only do so much and go but so far... after a certain point the burden is passed to adults. So here's the clarion call: Hey big people! Get your mind out of the 50s and start helping our great nation's youth! Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,