This blog post is based on readings from Safe Spaces by Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, and Megan S. Kennedy. Have you ever felt discriminated against for a characteristic that you have no control over? No, I am not speaking about one’s race. I am referring to a person’s sexual preference. While LGBT organizations around the world are places where men and women can embrace their sexuality comfortably, society as a whole gives these men and women a very tough time. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are constantly being discriminated against for something they cannot control. Because some people are only comfortable with relationships that consist of a man and woman, any other combination appears as a sin that these men and women should be ashamed of. Although I am not a member of the LGBT community, I was very touched by this text.
The quote, “Assumptions that everyone is (or should be) heterosexual shape most classroom interactions, whether academic or social” (84) is very powerful and unfortunately true. Thinking of an elementary school classroom, many projects and assignments were based on our mommies and daddies. If someone had two moms or two dads, they were forced to feel like their situation was wrong and didn’t belong. This quote also applies to older students such as those in high school. One of the most common questions a teenage girl is asked is “do you have a boyfriend?” Because this is society’s “norm”, the question of is she has a girlfriend will most likely never come up and therefore causes that girl to feel guilty for her sexual preference.
While reading this text, I became aware of the daily struggles LGBT youth face every day. I could not imagine living in a world where what I felt was right in my heart caused me to be viewed as a disgrace to society. I also found it difficult to fathom feeling this way in school. If there is any place that you should feel comfortable enough to display who you truly are, it is in the classroom. Teenage years are difficult enough, never mind if those years are filled with confusion and shame for your sexuality.
POINTS TO SHARE: The quote, “One reason educators take the path of least resistance is their fear of negative repercussions from parents or administrators” (91) really stood out while I read this text. I feel that students should be exposed to LGBT formally in classrooms. I feel this way because they are already being exposed to this community every day whether they know it or not. If teachers and administrators attempt to shelter children from LGBT, that does not mean that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people do not exist. Although some parents may react negatively, it is crucial for students to recognize LGBT youth because they are not outcasts and do not deserve to be treated that way.