Schools, segregation, and gay rights
Hey, why would someone like me be more invested in building a legal defense of gay marriage specifically and a larger lattice of rights to defend gay people generally? Why, maybe because of things like girls getting kicked out of their private high schools because the administration of said high school believes them to be lesbians.
Now, I understand that kicking girls out of school for being lesbians is wrong. It’s not nearly as wrong as kicking girls out of the US Army for being gay, but that’s a story for another day.
What this really made me think of is the Chicago school board plan to build a “gay-friendly” public school. Admissions will be lottery-based, but the school in question is expected to be largely composed of gay students seeking some sort of refuge from the daily prejudice they meet in normal schols.
Now what strikes me about this is that the gay-activist movement, or at least a part of the movement, seems to be advocating a sort of gay segregation, a purposeful seperation of gays and straights (or at least “outed” gays) from one another. This is a legal appraoch to a cultural problem that will no doubt backfire. How long did civil rights activists have to work to end black/white segregation of schools? Now the gay movement wants to instigate that very same sort of segregation?
Good intentions aside, I think this is probably the most foolish legalistic approach I’ve heard of out of the gay rights movement. What’s to stop another school district doing the same thing, not out of good intentions, but to say “protect” their children from the moral degredation they perceive in homosexuality? Intentions are hard to classify, and extremely difficult to prove in a legal case.
And beyond that, we’re treading on public ground here. Freddie is rightfully upset about those lesbians being kicked out of a private school, but quite frankly that school, so long as it doesn’t accept public money, is well within their rights to do so. Do public schools have a right to create a “gay-friendly” school anymore than they have a right to create a “no-gays-allowed” school – or a “don’t ask, don’t tell” school?
I would say no, they don’t. I understand it must be very hard to face the cultural hostility that many of these kids face every day at school. But that’s part of the culture war. And it’s part of being a kid in school. In the utopian “gay-friendly” school there will probably be nerdy kids who are picked on for not being cool enough, or any other myriad social stigmatisms that make high school less fun that it ought to be. But that’s life. The cultural battle won’t be won by hiding from it.