Fabulous!

Today is the second annual Queer Youth Advocacy Day at the State Capitol.  “Representatives from the more than 600 Gay Student Alliances (which are at 45% of public high schools), and other youth under the age of 24, are meeting in Sacramento to lobby for Senate Bill 777 (Kuehl).”  This bill will standardize the anti-discrimination policies in all schools receiving public funds to give all students equal protection from harassment, bullying and discrimination.

The students attended a lobbying training at the Crest Theater before meeting with legislators this afternoon.  A handful of protesters were on hand to inform the youth than they were sinners, but were scared off by the inclement weather (maybe God was trying to tell them something about tolerance, loving thy neighbor, and casting the first stone).

I’m not “family,” but have always been a “friend of the family,” so I am pleased to see so much social activism among the youth in this community.  When I was in high school, there was far less visibility of gay/lesbian/queer/questioning students.  I remember so many of my friends struggling with their identity and their sexuality, and cannot imagine how hard that act is in itself, regardless of the additional fear of rejection, humiliation and violence at the hands of the bigoted and the naive.  I was also a founding member of the Association for Gay and Lesbian Students at my Catholic University that refused to grant us recognition as an “official” student organization because of the stigma of sin associated with such an organization. Ridiculous.

While students are now freer to safely explore their identities and question society’s labels, I am still sad that so many teachers much remain in the closet for the sake of their jobs.  I think that more gay role models in our schools could only help teach and encourage tolerance, understanding and equality. 

So, the SacRag wishes to extend a hearty Right Awn! to all of the visiting delegates from across our diverse state, congratulate you for your courage and desire to change the world, complement you on those shoes, and we hope that you know that you are making a difference.

Comment away!

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27 thoughts on “Fabulous!”

  1. Awesome post Stickie,

    I was milling around the Cap today prompted by a text message from a friend of mine at SCC regarding the event. It was truly amazing and encouraging to see young people representing what is the future of our State, and perhaps Nation.

    Joey

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  2. From SB 777

    No textbook, or other instructional materials shall be adopted by the State Board or by any governing board for use in the public schools that contains any matter reflecting adversely upon persons because of their race, sex, color, creed, handicap, national origin, or ancestry.

    How are they going to teach about slavery or the Holocaust without reflecting adversely upon white Europeans because of their national origin and/or beliefs?

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  3. I see the merit in this bill’s purpose, especially as applied to personal aspects that people can’t control such as raise or gender. But including “creed” in the limitation is absurd. And “reflecting adversely” is a ridiculously vague phrase, especially when you consider its practical applications. Really, you don’t want to teach any matter that could reflect adversely on any person because of his or her creed? Some creeds are so wrong (yes, I said it) that they cannot help but reflect adversely on the people who advance them. I can’t imagine teaching about Hitler in a way that would not reflect adversely on him due to his creed. How exactly would one go about that? I think students are capable of evaluating, even judging, the merits of belief systems without turning into judgmental bigots if we will teach them manners and critical thinking. The reality is that if your belief system and the actions it leads to are wrong, that’s going to reflect on you as a person. Do we really want to teach students that it isn’t?

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  4. I don’t know, it’s hard to find much merit in banning books by prescription like that. It seems like book banning creates more ignorance, rather than erasing it as this bill seems to want to do.

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  5. Agreed DMZ. I guess I was just trying to be deferential. But now that I look at it again I don’t see much merit in this bill at all. The whole thing is so general and you’re right, it will lead to ignorance. I agree with you.

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  6. Don’t be so quick to change your opinion HeyMeg. Go ahead and disagree with him, really. He doesn’t bite 🙂

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  7. i wish i could have gone i wanted to go so bad and rally for our rights i am gay and i want my right protected and so becuz i couldn’t go i wore a rainbow flag all day yesterday. I just want to tell everyone who was there keep the faith one day we will be treated equal.

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  8. Hey you two, why don’t you take this discussion to the Sac Rag Board…

    Yahoo! My small, point blank prayers have been answered…

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  9. When I was in highschool, I wouldn’t have participated in something like this because of my own personal fears and because of the predjudices which I had been taught.

    I work right near the capitol, and yesterday when I saw all the kids going to and from the Crest theater, I just kinda felt like “crap. I wish I had had more guts fifteen years ago and could have done something like this.” But I guess that’s just the point. It’s not like I was a total coward when I was a teen, just a bit of an introvert. If the thought of being out at school as a teen wasn’t so scary, it might have been a different story.

    My last boyfriend, he was quite out during highschool, and this was just back in the mid 1990’s. It got to the point where he had to be escorted to classes by county officers to keep him from getting beat up.

    I think we’ve come a long way in ten years.

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  10. Let’s look at this legislation:

    “matter reflecting adversely upon persons because of their race, sex, color, creed, handicap, national origin, or ancestry. ”

    It doesn’t say that we cannot discuss things that reflect adversely upon people, it just says we can’t attribute it to their demographics.

    Now, if we are talking about slavery or the Holocaust, as the examples were given, a textbook could not describe slavery being a result of “white people are evil or morally repugnant” or the Holocaust as “Germans are evil or morally repugnant” and would have to explain the historical context behind why slavery existed or why the Holocaust happened. It cannot attribute the cause of actions based upon someone’s race, creed, etc. Sounds reasonable.

    50 years ago, there were probably teachers in public schools who expressed opinions that black people are somehow inferior. It was probably even in some textbooks.

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  11. You can attribute slavery entirely 100% to the creed that black Africans were something to be bought and sold. If you hold that belief, society should reflect very very adversely on you wholly because of that belief.

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  12. Yes. Taking your example Stickie, the belief that “black people are somehow inferior” is a creed and it is a terribly wrong creed responsible for all sorts of social evils. We and our teaching materials should reflect adversely on those who advance it. The bill we are currently discussing would directly prohibit that reflection. I’m going to go ahead and say I think something is wrong with that kind of educational policy.

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  13. “You can attribute slavery entirely 100% to the creed that black Africans were something to be bought and sold. If you hold that belief, society should reflect very very adversely on you wholly because of that belief.”

    Exactly. The reason why slavery existed is because society was fucked up due to an unevolved and anti-humanistic moral climate, not because whitey is inherently evil. If one was to hold that belief today, it is because they are unevolved and have an anti-humanistic morality, regardless of their race.

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  14. According to the Education Code, it is illegal for a teacher to instruct students that such a creed is inherently wrong.

    “No teacher shall give instruction … which reflects adversely upon persons because of their … creed.”

    In other words it would be illegal for a teacher to say the things that we are saying right now. It would also be illegal for you to reflect adversely upon yesterday’s Christian protestors (Yesterday’s Christians, great band name) because of their creed that homosexuality is a sin.

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  15. “It would also be illegal for you to reflect adversely upon yesterday’s Christian protesters because of their creed that homosexuality is a sin.”

    SacRag – License to Snark! (Can that be on our new T-shirt design?)

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