Letters to the Editor

Stand up for LGBTQ teens for everyone’s safety

In December, our State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal took a huge stand against hate alongside the heads of education in California and Oregon: “To our students who are transgender: We hear you. We see you. We support you. We will protect you”

Here is why this stand is so important: This is as dangerous a time as ever for our precious LGBTQIA+ community. They have been facing transgender violence in record numbers. Meanwhile, the current administration has pushed through a military “transgender ban.”

In 2014, The University of British Columbia published a very important study of school-based strategies to reduce suicide. You know what they found? Simply having a gay-straight alliance reduces suicide risk for all students, and, specifically, heterosexual males. ( https://journals.uvic.ca/index.php/ijcyfs/article/view/12856)

“Given consistently higher documented risk for suicidal ideation and attempts among LGB and mostly heterosexual adolescents, prevention efforts should be a priority, and school-level interventions, such as GSAs, may be an effective approach to reducing this risk, while also offering prevention benefits for heterosexual boys.”

In other words: bonds between gay and straight students benefit everyone.

The leaders of K-12 education of the entire West Coast of the United States sent the world a message: When you take a stand for LGBTQI+ people, all people are safer, especially heterosexual males.

This has given me much hope, and much pride in the leadership of our state and of our unified West Coast.