People are ready to promote gay tolerance

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by Kathy Tussy, guest writer

The extreme prejudice about all things gay is reflected in the often heard put-down, “That’s so gay.”

How many times a day do you hear it? How many times a day do you say it?

Do you ever stop to think what it must feel like to be gay and hear it over and over and over?

Does someone from Cal High have to be added to the growing list of teens from across the country who have taken their lives in order to escape the homophobic harassment before we talk about the issue and what to do about it?

How many of our students are harassed every single day because they’re openly gay or are perceived to be gay?

I’m betting you’d be astonished at the numbers. It’s unconscionable.

In light of recent publicity about the suicides of gay youth, many people have stepped forward to say it’s time to do something to end this cycle of intolerance, harassment and suicide.

Any one of the recent suicides could have been averted with more acceptance.

Don’t we hear over and over through the years that all of us are created equal?

Doesn’t that imply  acceptance?

Why does equality seem like lip-service so often, especially  when it comes to gay/lesbian/transgender issues?

What can we do?

More parents could be role models of acceptance, more churches could be accepting, teachers could have training on how to  address the issue of homophobia  to  help their students practice equality.

To help start this, President Obama has issued a message of support to Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) youth.

Columnist Dan Savage launched “It Gets Better,” a video message in response to recent youth suicides to tell LGBT youth that life gets better after high school.

The Make It Better Project takes this one step further, giving youth the tools they need to make their lives better now .

There are lots of students and teachers here at Cal ready to follow their example.

It’s up to all of us to make this a school that doesn’t just “tolerate” out differences, but “celebrates” them.

Kathy Tussy is an art teacher at Cal High. She was the teacher adviser for the school’s Gay Straight Alliance Club for 15 years.

For more on this issue, read the story on page A1. Also, view a district video on gay tolerance on The Californian Web site at www.thecalifornianpaper.com.

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