Guest editorial: Prejudice among some in community against LBGTQ students is disturbing
Wow, am I glad our kids don’t go to Trailside.
Not because of the Welcoming Schools program, which sounds fine, but rather due to the prejudice of some in its parent community.
As a parent of kids at Ecker Hill Middle School and Park City High School, I read the recent report of the anonymous “Stop Welcoming Schools” group with both amusement and disgust.
First of all, “Stop Welcoming Schools” sounds like a Saturday Night Live skit. Just imagine a bunch of tight-lipped, arms-crossed-against-chests parents shaking their heads and strategizing furiously about how to be more unwelcoming. Down with welcome! Down with helping all kids feel accepted! How can we make them feel as alone, different and horrible as possible? We should bring back bullying! Is someone taking notes? Let’s get to work, people!
Maybe a “Top 10 ways to ostracize those who aren’t exactly like us” list could be sent home in backpacks.
The “Stop Welcoming Schools” group has also apparently paid money out of their own pockets to hire a lawyer. Who needs Christmas or a family vacation fund, we’ve got to make your school less welcoming, son! They’re being nice to too many people over there! Maybe you’ll get a scooter next year, if we’re sure by then that no one will ever mention gay people in your presence unless it’s in the form of an insult or slur!
Of course none of that is actually funny.
It’s hard enough being a kid in the world without a group of adults actively working to make you less comfortable, more embarrassed, more isolated.
This “We can’t tell kids that being gay is okay” campaign makes me wonder if any of the anonymous group has ever been inside a church. Has ever thought about what faith teaches about loving others. Or has ever heeded religious guidance about not judging.
The group’s position that teaching acceptance of LGBTQ people is a type of sex education is narrowly focused, to say the least. By that logic, any book celebrating or even depicting a heterosexual family is teaching sex ed, since we all know how that family was created, don’t we?
Imagine for a minute being defined solely by who you married or loved, or how you presented yourself. There’s Michelle, she slept with Pete, that’s how they made those kids. Oh, hi Michelle, you were born female and identify that way, huh? I. See.
How truly bizarre it would be if that was all anyone saw or cared about. I mean, what about my career, hobbies, tastes, talents, life experiences, friends, goals, triumphs and regrets, sense of humor, plans for the future?
Can we agree that each of us is about much more than who we love or what our bodies look like? Who we love and how we see ourselves is extremely important to each of us personally, and to our families, but not really to anyone else. Unless people are not minding their own business.
I hope school teachers, staff and administrators at Trailside and anywhere else facing pressure from those promoting being “unwelcoming” can stay strong.
“It’s no different than Klansmen wearing hoods, frankly,” Andrew Caplan, president of the Park City Board of Education, told The Park Record in reference to the disturbing anonymity of the group.
I agree. And if any harm comes to my LGBTQ son at school or anywhere in this community, I will hold you and your secretive intolerance and hate-peddling accountable. How dare you claim that my son isn’t worthy of being accepted and valued and cheered on in life just like your kids are?
Notice I signed my name on this. Unlike the unwelcoming crew, I’m proud — not afraid or ashamed — to stand up for my values and beliefs.
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“[I]f Park City and Summit County love Richardson Flat as much as they claim to, maybe they should demonstrate their love by cleaning it up and leading by example,” writes Micah Kagan in a letter to the editor.