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.