Last September, the Globe chapter of PFLAG, (which stands for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, which is a nationally recognized support organization, founded in 1972), was approached and invited to participate in Globe High School’s first-ever, social fair. PFLAG Globe was one of more than 12, state-recognized organizations that participated in the fair. During the fair, PFLAG Globe distributed more than 600 brochures and bumper stickers, upon request, to the students and faculty of GHS. Six hundred colorful, gay pride/gay rights/gay support bumper stickers and information brochures were circulating on campus for an entire day, and not ONE complaint was lodged by a student, teacher, or parent. So, why now? Why the controversy over a T-shirt? A T-shirt that simply stated, “My best friends are lesbian?” I don’t know the answer to that question, but I feel comfortable asking it.
The Globe High School student handbook states, “Attire or accessories which advertise, display, and/or promote any sexual activity…” are prohibited. The T-shirt in question did none of those things; it was stating an IDENTITY, (lesbian), not a “sexual preference,” and to assume otherwise, could be perceived as biased. A human being declaring an identity, whether it is gay, straight, or lesbian, is stating nothing more than an EMOTIONAL preference, and to automatically sexualize it, could be deemed both irresponsible and contemptuous.
I sympathize with the administration of GHS. I know it is uncomfortable to be put in the position of judgment in any situation, especially one so highly controversial and sensitive, but I wonder if they missed a great opportunity to make a statement about acceptance and equality on behalf of their students? I wonder if taking the focus off the misdirected, sexual aspect of this incident, and instead sending a message of positivity and affirmation, based on the proper, EMOTIONAL aspect of it, would have served a purpose far higher than the one they chose. After all, aren’t our children so much more than a “sexual preference?” Don’t they deserve to know that their emotional preferences, with regard to identity, will be acknowledged and celebrated throughout their lives?
Earnestly, MarNella Baca, President, PFLAG Globe, AZ chapter