Last year, Mazy was aware and confident enough in herself, after coping with a lot of self-shame and bullying, to share with her family, second grade class and elementary school that she had always known she was a girl.
This week I talked with filmmaker K. Rocco Shields about her multiple-award-winning viral short Love Is All You Need?, which is about to become a full-length feature film. The concept of the film follows the life of an ordinary heterosexual girl who is bullied in a world where everyone is gay.
As a historian and straight educator who sees the struggles of his gay students on a daily basis, I know that there are individuals who performed acts that may not seem historic or monumental but have indirectly improved the lives of so many.
Why shouldn't a child learn of LGBT issues in school? Doesn't it take some of the stigma away from being LGBT if children are taught of its existence instead of it being a dirty little secret that is only spoken about in hushed voices? I would have benefited from such a learning environment.
These days, I find that I feel greatest urgency not because I myself am a lesbian, but because I am a mother, an education advocate and someone fighting for a brighter future for so many young people who lack the opportunity to thrive.
Much of the progress towards freedom and equality occurs in legislatures and courts, making a legal education a necessity. This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 25th anniversary conference of Lavender Law in San Francisco.
Our young LGBTQA youth (gay and straight for short) don't have family support and often don't have a place to live, but they are trying to continue with their education. So, child-sized backpacks and boxes of crayons aren't enough to get them on their way.
In late June in Buenos Aires, the U.S.'s leading LGBT youth and education advocacy group, GLSEN, and UNESCO hosted a historic convening of groups from 20 countries to discuss cutting-edge research and activism that supports the lives of LGBT youth in K-12 schools globally.
We know that signs and parties in stores, and commercials on television, will not end hate and discrimination. We recognize that real and lasting progress takes years, not months. But by supporting GLSEN's work, we can help ensure safe schools and communities for many more students.
National organizations that are structured more like campaigns, or that serve one particular community or cause, along with the legal organizations and the research organizations, have been increasingly effective relative to the multi-issue organizations. The question is why.
LGBT students are being harassed, targeted and bullied at staggering rates. We must take our outrage at the plight of these youth, muster up our desire for change, place ourselves in front of the educational powers that be, look them in the eye and... be silent?
How is it possible that behavior that could lead to arrest in public is tolerated within the culture of sports? How is it that violently homophobic language is decried in school communities yet excused in the private world of teams?
Megan Rapinoe represents what is possible when LGBT athletes are supported and respected, but it's heartbreaking to think of the potential excellence still being wasted by fear, and the barriers that that fear poses to the health of students who would rather skip school than go to gym.