I may be biased: I support the GSA

At the Washakie County School District School Board No.1 meeting on October 25, a number of students and community members approached the board with a simple request: to start a Gay-Straight Alliance club, also known as GSA. The board of directors unanimously approved the club.

Personally, I was delighted for these children and their club. Growing up in the LGBT community, I didn’t have that kind of support. I didn’t know there was someone else going through who I was until I met my friends, and even then it was sometimes difficult.

When I walked out of the school council meeting, the first thing I did was text a few of my friends about the club and its endorsement. They were all as surprised as I was that this was presented to the board, let alone approved. They all made a similar statement saying they were proud of the kids who created the club.

Of course, we had the right to be surprised. When it comes to living in the “Equal State,” this only applies if you are seen as equal to everyone else in the State. Being part of the LGBT community seems to automatically eliminate your chances of this happening. When it comes to homophobia and transphobia, there are worse places to live. I know some countries will kill you for being gay, so we take it a step further. What I’m trying to say is Wyoming isn’t known for being open-minded.

With that in mind, the inevitable has happened. People are really upset that this club has been approved. I’m here to do my best to explain why this club is a good thing and move in the right direction for this city by dividing it into two, one to talk about GSA and one to discuss identity ideology gender.

For starters, according to an article on childtrends.org by Dominique Parris and Brandon Stratford, in a recent review of LGBT-focused school policies and practices, researchers noted that, of all the interventions reviewed, GSAs are supported by the evidence. most consistent to show that they improve the climate and educational outcomes of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer / questioning youth.

To be specific, the researchers identified several studies that documented a reduction in homophobic victimization of LGBTQ students in schools with GSA. LGBTQ youth who participate in GSAs report that clubs are a source of community, a gateway to LGBTQ-friendly resources, and a marker of safety.

According to the article, evidence also suggests that the presence of GSA is associated with benefits for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, including youth who do not identify as LGBTQ. For example, one study found a reduction in substance abuse, suicide attempts, and risky sexual behavior among youth in schools with GSA – the strongest effects appear to be among LGBTQ students.

GSAs have been proven time and again to improve the academic and personal lives of LGBTQ students. It just takes knowing that students are not alone to make a huge difference in their lives.

Contemporary LGBTQ adolescents are known to be disproportionately exposed to psychosocial well-being and health issues, according to a study published on the National Institute of Health’s website at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. A growing body of evidence shows disproportionate risk among transgender youth. Specifically, previous research indicates that young people from sexual minorities are at greater risk than heterosexuals for thoughts and attempts of suicide, depression, substance abuse and low self-esteem. Recent studies using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health document that the disparate risks reported by this population of suicidality and depression are particularly increased during the developmental period of adolescence and dissipate in adulthood for men. attracted to the same sex. These findings are of particular importance because they clarify for researchers, policy makers and those working with young people that a primary opportunity to potentially reduce risk to LGBT people is during adolescence.

Much of the time of adolescents is spent in school. Therefore, schools are a potential framework for the positive development and resilience of young people. LGBT teens report high rates of verbal and physical victimization in school and report that their school environment is unsafe. These negative school experiences have been linked to long-term negative mental health and health outcomes. And, before I comment on “mental illness is in your head”, yes; it is literally.

The disparity in positive school experiences for LGBTQ youth lacks information about the positive development of LGBTQ adolescents in positive school settings, such as extracurricular activities. In fact, just like their heterosexual peers, these school-based activities can be a primary framework that promotes positive youth development.

Research suggests that the presence of a GSA may serve as a protective factor for LGBTQ teens, so LGBTQ teens who report their school has a GSA tend to report more school safety and a greater well-being.

The presence of a GSA was further found to be associated with higher levels of school safety, fewer reports of being absent from school due to fear, and greater awareness of a safe adult in the school context. Finally, a few studies have documented that the presence of GSA is associated with a reduced risk of suicide in sexual minority youth.

Now let’s talk about the fears that some people are expressing about this club.

The main thing I want to discuss is that GSAs promote the ideology of gender identity. It seems people are worried that this is a bad thing, for reasons that I can’t fathom. Full Disclosure, as many readers know I am a transgender male. So I don’t see anything wrong with people exploring their gender identity. Gender is not black and white. Well, blue and pink. It’s a huge spectrum and everyone is in a different place.

With religion in mind, many people have the same argument. That you should not interfere with God’s purpose. To this I would like to call attention to Botox, diet pills, facelifts, braces, nuclear warfare, deforestation, laser hair removal, hydrogenated oils, hair dye, Viagra and literally thousands of other everyday things.

Now, on the science side, I’m going to start off by saying that in my experience no one pretends to be transgender. Anyone who decides “Hey, I want to be called insults and wear clothes that don’t fit well to make me stand out!” Is absolutely ridiculous.

Some transgender people suffer from what is called “gender dysphoria”.

According to psychiatry.org, gender dysphoria is clinically significant distress or impairment related to a strong desire to be another gender, which may include the desire to change primary and / or secondary sex characteristics. Being transgender is not something that is taught in schools, nor can it be taught, and it is not something that can be influenced on you. You cannot inflict gender dysphoria or the need to change gender on someone who is not already transgender, or question their gender.

In addition, the Worland High School GSA Club is by no means compulsory. Your children do not have to attend this club. It is not because this club takes place in your school that it changes the program. Just because this club was added doesn’t mean they’re suddenly teaching your kids to be gay. You can’t even teach people to be gay. Being gay is something you were born to, not something that develops or something that is taught.

Now I know I mentioned that I’m keeping religion to a minimum, but I think I’ve been in church enough to qualify to talk about it.

In an article written by Rev. Elder Don Eastman on Religiousinstitute.org, “Christians today do not follow the rules and rituals described in Leviticus. But some ignore his definitions of “uncleanness” while citing Leviticus to condemn “homosexuals.”

“Such an abuse of the scriptures distorts the meaning of the Old Testament and negates a message of the New Testament. ‘You shall not sleep with a male as one sleeps with a female: it is an abomination.’ These words appear only in the Leviticus Code of Holiness, a ritual manual for priests in Israel. Their significance can only be fully appreciated in the historical and cultural context of the ancient Hebrew people. Israel, in one place as a chosen people of one God, was to avoid the practices of other peoples and gods.

Reverend Eastman states that “the rituals and rules found in the Old Testament were given to preserve the distinctive features of the religion and culture of Israel. But, as stated in Galatians 3: 22-25, Christians are no longer bound by these Jewish laws. By faith they live in Jesus Christ, not in Leviticus. Of course, ethical concerns apply to all cultures and all ages. These concerns were ultimately reflected by Jesus Christ, who said nothing about homosexuality, but a lot about love, justice, mercy, and faith.

These children did nothing wrong. All they want is a safe space where they can be themselves and relate to the others around them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Despite your opinions and concerns, this club was approved unanimously.

This takes Worland away from its traditional state of being and on a path in the right direction. I don’t know about you, but I’m delighted to see what this small step can do for our city.

Stay nice.


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