- September 2022
- August 2022
Image by Dari Oberholster from Pixabay
In Grand Island, Neb., the school year ended with a bang. Make that a stomp.
The final issue of the year of the Northwest High School student newspaper, the Viking Saga, included a story on how Pride month came to be, and an editorial opposing Florida's Don't Say Gay law. Three days later, school administrators shut down the 54-year-old publication. Though officials aren't being transparent about the reason, one school district employee wrote in an email that it was "because the school board and superintendent are unhappy with the last issue's editorial content."
These Nebraska officials feel as warmly toward a free press as Vladimir Putin.
The local newspaper, The Grand Island Independent, is doggedly pursuing the story. It ran a photo of two of the Viking Saga's former staffers, one of whom is transgender, holding a Progress Pride flag outside their high school.
That picture and the saga of the Saga underscored for me that, no matter how heavy-handed Nebraska school administrators—and Florida legislators—get these days, they've already lost. If queer youth, supported by allies, are out in rural America, they won't go back.
The genie is out of the bottle. And he's fabulous.
The officials, on the other hand, are putzes.
- March 2022
- November 2021
A friend of mine here in Seattle flew to Colorado with her husband and daughters to spend Thanksgiving with her husband's family. Her college-aged daughter, "Emily," is out as bisexual to only the immediate family.
And that's still true, despite the hints she dropped over the holiday to extended family.
Emily thought her septum ring, considered part of bisexual culture, might give her away.
When the family members baked cookies, Emily frosted hers into rainbows. Then she decorated a cookie with the colors of the bi flag.
As far as she knows, anyway. It could be the moment Emily left Colorado, the cousins erupted in a fervor of speculation.
While these hints may seem feeble to some, to me they signal exactly where Emily is in her journey. She only recently came out to her parents. While she likes the idea of being out to the larger family, it's still too scary to say it, so part of her hoped the nose bling and fluorescent icing would do the talking for her.
If at the next family gathering Emily still isn't up to speaking her truth, there's always a less subtle hint she can offer: a girlfriend.
- October 2021
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Campus Pride has released its list of the worst colleges and universities nationwide for LGBT youth.
It's no surprise that most of the schools on the list are Christian. After all, in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus famously urged, "Judge often, and judge early, lest someone else get there first."
Some of the names on the list are predictable, like Liberty University, Bob Jones University and Oral Roberts University. Then there are the smaller Christian schools without a national profile.
Consider Corban University in Oregon, which in 2014 chose a professor specializing in "unwanted same-sex attractions" to chair the psychology department. At Hannibal-LaGrange University in Missouri, the employee handbook states, "Misuses of God’s gift will be understood to include, but will not be limited to, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication, and homosexual acts."
Always makes my day when sexual assault and homosexuality get equal billing.
To earn a spot on Campus Pride's list of the worst, these 180 institutions had to demonstrate a history of anti-LGBTQ practices, or have sought a Title IX religious exemption to discriminate against LGBTQ youth.
In other words, scattershot discrimination isn't sufficient. When it comes to bigotry, these are the schools that have distinguished themselves by giving it the old college try.
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