Hmmm.....I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. His family sounds very supportive, but almost too supportive. It's hard to tell from just one article, but the quotes from the parents sound almost too PC. The title is a bit misleading, because it does say the kid outed himself in school. I don't like the fact they kept him home from school for a week. What better way of saying something isn't "normal," than by making a big deal out of it. - Dallas
Utah Family Supports School that Outed Gay Son
A Utah school that revealed a teenage boy's homosexuality to his parents has drawn criticism from numerous gay activist organizations, but the boy's parents say they stand behind the school and never asked for the advocates to get involved.
The boy's story became an issue when gay activist organizations made public statements condemning the school's actions, claiming school officials violated the boy's rights and put him in danger.
The group's statements turned the story into news items on Salt Lake City television stations and newspapers.
A spokeswoman for the Utah Pride Center in Salt Lake City called the situation "disturbing" and Eliza Byard, the executive director of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, said that outing a student "violates their right to privacy" and could "compromise their safety."
"Taking away the choice for a LGBT student to come out on their own terms opens the door to significant risks including harassment at school and family rejection," Byard said in the statement.
That was before the boy's family said they were grateful the school alerted them and that their son was doing fine. The advocate involvement has only drawn unwanted attention, the father said. [continue]
My 2nd grade teacher called my parents in for a meeting and told them I had lesbian tendencies. It was sparked because I beat up a boy. I had to see a therapist. He told my parents I was just role-modeling after the stronger personality in the family (my father), and I would grow out of it. Haha. Joke's on them. This happened at Northlake Elementary school, right there in Dallas, Dallas. 1976.
What were you, seven maybe? Putting you in therapy for beating up a boy? People are fucked up, and too obsessed with the concept, or should I say illusion, of "normal."
Yes, I was 7. And it wasn't just beating up a boy, I was pretty boyish. I wasn't holding hand with girls or anything.
The motives of the school were to get me in "trouble" and/or get me "therapy" so I could be straight. I was fortunate enough to have sane, educated parents who didn't understand what to do, but knew enough to talk to a therapist. I wish I could find that therapist and thank him. He could have really fucked me up if he had tried to turn me into a traditional girl, or told my parents that is what I needed.
In my grade school they all thought I was going to turn out to be a "little fairy". That was in the terms of the time. No one really talked about those things then & there, and my parents preferred to keep such horrible thoughts quiet. By not talking about it, it didn't exist. Uh oh.
As someone who has been involved in counseling gay youth and their parents for many, many years, here are my observations in reading this story:
1) I agree wholeheartedly with the statement released by the Salt Lake group.
2) The school was wildly irresponsible in their outing of this young man. Given the fact that one out of four LGBT children who become known to their parents as a sexual minority end up living on the streets, means that it was reckless in the extreme if they were not ABSOLUTELY SURE of how the parents would react, and what they would do about it - and in my experience, it is impossible to know. The fact that it was done rather casually, if one is to read between the lines, indicates that the school administration is seriously ignorant of the consequences this revelation could have, and of their responsibilities in this matter. They are also unconcerned for the young man's privacy, which is also disturbing.
3) While the story emphasizes that the young man is being "supported" by the school and by the parents, in reading between the lines, I doubt seriously this is all that true. If he were being "supported," by the school administration, this outing would not have happened. And the assertion by the parents that they are being supportive is called into question by the very last line in the article, which implies that his homosexuality is the result of a "decision." This is, in my experience, is indicative of people who do not accept that homosexuality is natural or morally acceptable - if it were natural, that would deprive them of the moral basis for their homophobia, so they become resistant to the growing scientific consensus that it is natural and normal.
On that basis, I would assert that there is a lot more going on with this story than we are reading in this article. Alpine (and I have been there many times, having lived in that area) is about as conservative a town as it gets in Utah, and believe me, that's saying something. So I can assure you, this young man is going to go through pure hell until he is old enough to pack up and leave that place - even if he gets the support his parents and the school are saying he is going to get.
That town is overwhelmingly Mormon, deeply religious, and it is the Mormon church that sets the cultural norms there. And I can assure you, as virulently homophobic as the Mormon church is, this poor kid has a tough row to hoe. I don't envy him one bit. I am pleased that he had the emotional maturity and judgment to handle the situation well - he'll need every bit of strength and maturity he can muster. I can only wish I were there to help.
While the story emphasizes that the young man is being "supported" by the school and by the parents, in reading between the lines, I doubt seriously this is all that true.
I've had my doubts about that, too. Define "supportive," you know? If "supportive" comes from a fundie, it likely means that they're gonna support him all the way to conversion therapy.
And the assertion by the parents that they are being supportive is called into question by the very last line in the article, which implies that his homosexuality is the result of a "decision."
I noticed that, too. Their words have a very "scripted" feel to them, as if they are saying what they think they're supposed to be saying, just to avoid controversy. Perhaps I'm being too cynical, as these are just quotes in text, but something nags at me about their language.
It's just so hard to judge all this from one article. Things could be going either way for this kid.
I think that the school was grossly irresponsible. The ends of the family not being beastly doesn’t justify the means of an interfering school claiming a mandate to ‘out’. The school’s responsibility ends with providing information and knowledge to the child, not informing on him. No doubt the teacher was well meaning and had read a couple of pamphlets but it’s not their place as representatives of the state to intervene in what is by every stretch of the imagination a wholly private matter. If the child wanted to come out to his family, he should have been offered support from the school to do so but not to the point where they do it for him.
This clearly needs legislation before we read of children being disowned or worse on the word of some well-meaning school teacher at a PTA meeting using this as a precedent.
If I am reading this correctly, the Utah Pride center turned the information over to news organizations.
Im trying to get a hold on exactly what was the course if events. Please correct me if I am wrong...
1. The boy (unnamed, let's call him "Bruno") decided to come out to his class and friends, and did so in a number of ways - unnamed, but "verbally, Facebook posts, and class assignments", then he used a class assignment to come out to his class, his teacher asked him if it was OK to post it, and he said yes.
2. He had supportive friends, but there was also negative response.
3. The family was pulled into the situation by the faculty.
4. Someone created a Facebook page, publicizing the situation. It don't see who did that -maybe the facebook gremlin? The boy? His friends?
5. The Utah Pride Center picked up on the story and from there it went to the Salt Lake City TV stations and newspapers.
I'm not sure - if someone can correct this version, or nuance it differently, that would be great! But if it is correct, it's hard to blame the school administrators. Seems like Bruno was bound and determined to tell everyone he was gay, it was already on Facebook - short of having an airplane pulling a banner saying "Hey Bruno is Out and Proud" over the school, it's hard to imagine the parents not finding out very soon.
And if the way this went to the news is via the Pride Center, is it possible that "someone" was wanting some drama and maybe being hypocritical? I mean, "It was wrong to tell the parents, so let's publicise in the major news outlets?
By this point, I would not be surprised if everyone in town knows who Bruno is -small towns are like that.
Okay, I agree that it was a bit hypocritical -- or perhaps bad judgment -- for the gay group to spread the news by saying that it was wrong for the school to spread the news.
Also, I think we'd have to know the intention of the school here before we can judge it entirely. In many cases, it would probably be considered wrong for a school to withhold information from the parents that affected the child based on the excuse that "we don't want to get involved." However, I'm sure none of the parents of the straight kids were called in by the principle so that they could be notified that their child was a "heterosexual."
But back to intentions: If it was their intention to get the kid in trouble, or to hope that the parents would send him to therapy, then I'd say that was wrong. If they had good intentions to help or to protect the boy, then that may have been right. It would be terrible for the kid to endure bullying or abuse and the parents not know about it. Parents should know, and in a way, kids don't have any real privacy anyhow. While they are not the "property" of their parents, they are still legally and morally the responsibility of the parents. I don't think schools should necessarily arbitrarily decide what should or should not be reported to parents. What about smoking, drugs, bullying, theft, truancy, etc? The parents should know, I suppose. But like I said, my judgment on their actions would depend on understanding their intentions.
Sounds like to me that the kid was ready to be open about it anyhow.
I agree with you. It's hard to know the intentions. I could also see a situation where, in the school administrators' minds, if they did not give this information to the parents once they know it, the parents could sue the school. Especially if Bruno came to some kind of harm.
You make good point about parents not being called when it turns out their kid is heterosexual. Maybe they should start doing that. :-)
I'm often ready to jump on people for being homophobic- often for good reason And people won't say "I'm doing this because I hate LGBT people". But in this case, the published evidence isn't there.
Again, I am ready to hear a difference scenario - the information is really quite limited. We may never hear the whole story.
Yes, the whole thing is kind of a jumblefuck. If they did withhold the info and he was bullied, they would be blamed. And since everyone expects their child to be hetero, it is a "big deal" (unfortunately) when the child comes out.
I will have to remember that expression, Jumblefuck. I know what a clusterfuck is - is a jumblefuck related?